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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2009-08-07 12:49:50
Apple has achieved the sort of hegemony that businesses dream of. Their products have dominated the social consciousness. I use a Sansa Clip for my portable audio needs, and whenever an older person asks me, "Is that an iPod?" I just nod. It's just easier that way. Before the iPhone, multimedia smart phones were gadgets only for the hardcore crowd who absolutely had to be plugged in, in all ways at all times. Now, they're ubiquitous accessories for the terminally chic.
iPhone apps have juiced up this style with unquestionable function. Need to know the name of that song you're hearing? Handle banking on the go? Remotely access files and FTP edit your website? Play a new generation of portable games? To parrot Apple's ad copy, "There's an app for that." I'm just patiently awaiting Apple and Verizon to kiss and make up.
However, there is a line when usefulness crosses over into creepy enslavement to a technological device. I suppose calorie counters for dieters is reasonable enough, but I firmly draw the line at allowing a program to determine the scheduling of your bodily excretions.
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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2009-08-07 13:11:41
Diplomacy IV - Spring 1903
Play the home version by following these forum threads! The adjudicator is also running a side game of wagering for spectators.
The images below depict the latest states of the board. A larger version is available for viewing by clicking on it.
Adjudicator Steve W.'s analysis:
Austria is dead and gone.
England can't fight off the six combined fleets of France and Germany, but he can determine which of the two makes progress with his remaining four units. It should be interesting to watch, and I'm vaguely reminded of Fezzik from The Princess Bride: "You use different tactics fighting gangs than. when. you're. fighting. just. one. person." Fight on, England!
France has built himself the luxury of a third fleet. Only success can subsidize so much navy, but on the other hand, it means the English campaign is drawing resources that could have been used elsewhere. Still no English centers in French hands, and over in the East, Austria has been dispatched and the Eastern powers are now working on their second victim. One has to wonder - what does France's long term vision look like?
Germany has been more seriously stymied by English resistance. A central power with only five centers to his name, a dead Austria, and Scandinavia firmly in Russian hands, Germany desperately needs English centers to beef up his defenses. The clock is running on German fortunes - can he pierce the heart of England quickly enough to face other opponents?
Italy kept going in the same direction. Forces wonderfully arrayed to the east, France occupied with England, and Turkey marvelously belligerent in the Mediterranean, all conspired to make Italian choices easy. The ride's been good so far, but there will be a pothole somewhere down the road despite easy dominance of the Mediterranean. Exactly how far can Italy trust the growing Bear anyway, and what if the Frogs in the rear get antsy?
Russia's forces are doing a Busby Berkley musical routine - spinning and pirouetting in glorious symmetry through Scandinavia and the Balkans, as both of the two-front wars work out to Russian advantage almost magically. However, I sense the music will soon change to a Philip Souza march - can Russia's choreographer keep up?
[Edit: Really Steve? The Last Samurai is old? :D]
Unfortunately, Turkey's excellent defensive position is undercut by Russian fleets in the Black Sea and armies in Armenia. In any case, if she's watched those movies, she knows that none of the John Wayne or Tom Cruise moves in those movies will lead to success. Instead, a diplomatic shiv in Russia's or Italy's side is called for. Powers of persuasion to the max, but if Turkey can convince one of those powers that the other will get more of the meat from her carcass, then she may prove more useful alive.