Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

A terrible evil has befallen the land.
Admin CavemanJoe2010-08-26 22:38:40 [Permalink]
A huge monster strode across the Island in the middle of the night, helpfully "correcting" certain things in people's Dwellings. Quotation marks became skewed. Hyphens became elongated. Ellipses were reduced to single characters. Then the monster disappeared, never to be seen again.

It was the Word Processor Monster, and it borked a lot of people's Dwellings.

If your Dwelling has been affected by this disaster, please see the "Dwellings Cataclysm" forum topic in the Enquirer.

(in other news, the new Hunter's Lodge is open!)
Poll: Mount Naming module to be deactivated
Admin CavemanJoe2010-08-25 19:30:58
Hey, guys. I'm thinking of deactivating the function in the Hunter's Lodge that allows you to name your Mount. It's not as awesome as the other custom naming modules (it doesn't allow you to change a Budget Horse to a Ferocious Lion - it just lets you call your mount "Lion the Budget Horse") and the way it operates means it takes up a horrendous amount of server resources, hooking in at every page load - disabling it will mean the game runs faster. But I figured I'd ask you lot first! So, how do you feel about this? There's a topic in the Enquirer about it right now!
I would be devastated. (30 - 4%)
I'd get over it. (79 - 10.6%)
I wouldn't care in the slightest. (89 - 12%)
Faster server? Do it! (538 - 72.5%)
I'm gonna post my bit in the Enquirer. (6 - 0.8%)

One hundred and fifty years!
Admin CavemanJoe2010-08-18 21:17:15 [Permalink]
Improbable Island's World Community Grid team has just passed ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS of computing time! Suck it FarmVille, we're curing cancer!

A few words about World Community Grid, from a previous MotD:

There's a lot of stuff wrong with the world. The fact that you're not dying of malnutrition right now puts you in a four-out-of-ten minority. Oil's getting more expensive, and as the population increases exponentially we're gonna be in trouble before too long. Cancer, Muscular Dystrophy, West Nile virus, Yellow Fever, Hepatitis C and AIDS all conspire to make their presence felt by the not-so-subtle means of killing our friends and family members.

There is something we can do about all this doom and gloom.

There's a lot of info here, so I'll just tell you how the first problem can be solved. Let's start with 58% of the world's mortality rate being tied in with malnutrition. The whole world hunger thing.

Rice is the main staple food of more than half the world's population. So, if we make rice better, more nutritious, easier to grow and cheaper, that should help things out at least a bit. We can make better decisions about what strains of rice to breed with each other to create our Super Awesome Rice if we determine the structure of the various different rice proteins.

Problem is, it's horrendously expensive to do that sort of thing. You need a supercomputer. And there are thousands of distinct proteins in rice. A bunch of clever bods at the University of Washington have sorted out some good software to do it, but we still need a lot of hardware, with massive amounts of computational horsepower.

There's an amazingly powerful supercomputer called the IBM RoadRunner - many hundreds of thousands of times more powerful than the computer you're using right now. RoadRunner would probably do the job, but right now it's busy trying to compute exactly how daft an idea it was to engage Russia in a nuclear dick-waving contest and then leave loads of rickety old warheads lying around all over the place.

(No, seriously - that's what it was built for. If you could call Douglas Adams on the Phone of the Dead and tell him that, I don't think he'd believe you.)

RoadRunner will probably be too busy figuring out an answer to this question to help us for quite a while, so we've gotta take matters into our own hands.

Using a little program called BOINC - and yes, I do find the name wonderfully amusing - we can make a supercomputer ourselves, out of our own machines all connected together. The idea is that whenever your CPU isn't being used for anything, the BOINC client will use it to make Super Awesome Rice. And dengue drugs. And a cure for AIDS. And cancer. And the next generation of ultra-efficient (IE "actually worth the energy taken to make them") solar panels.

So far, our little supercomputer has done a hundred and fifty years' worth of humanitarian research. Pretty soon we'll be working on some Rather Awesome In-Game Incentives for our players who decide to become part of the supercomputer. To join our distributed computing team, head into Cobblestone Cottage, located in Common Ground - pretty soon we'll be awarding players with a new currency based on how much they've contributed to the project.

Go, little supercomputer! You can do it!
This is why I'm not richer.
Admin CavemanJoe2010-08-18 07:50:43 [Permalink]
So I'm working on some new Hunter's Lodge code that'll let you give gifts to people, and if I know anything about game design, I reckon that'll make me loads and loads of money.

But the code is so, so boring, you guys. So, so very very boring, because right now I'm just converting the old Hunter's Lodge things into new versions compatible with the new system. I'm rewriting things that already exist.

So I decided tonight to say "You know what, screw it" and instead work on increasing the character limit for commentary to 255 characters per post, up from 200.

This is why I'm not rich like those Farmville guys.

Enjoy your new, loooooooooooooooooooo-oooooooooooooooooooo-ooooooooooooooonger (yeah, that much longer) commentary areas!
50 Emily Bundles now on sale!
Admin CavemanJoe2010-08-18 06:42:37 [Permalink]
Hello folks! Just a reminder, today the Emily Bundle goes on sale again - there are fifty Emily Bundles available, and after the last one's gone, that's yer lot. Have fun!

Well, we timed that pretty much perfectly, because five minutes after I posted that announcement, Emily's crappy beloved old Dell laptop (that I've spent hours and hours fixing every sodding time something bloody went wrong with it (seriously, about 90% of the parts in this thing have been replaced at one time or another)) finally puked up blood onto its own motherboard and went to Silicon Heaven. So, this money's going towards a shiny new secondhand laptop off eBay, and then we'll see if we can get the stuff Emily's been working on off her old laptop and onto the Island. Wish me luck.

Okay guys maybe I didn't make that as clear as I could have.

I'm putting the Emily Bundle out again because last time it was out, some people tried to buy it by eCheque (which is where you transfer money from your bank account via PayPal, rather than using a card), which takes a few days to go through - so by the time these people got their points, the Emily Bundle had all sold out. That wasn't really fair, so we did another limited run to give those guys a chance. See the previous MotD for more info on this.

So, if you want the Emily Bundle, giving me twenty-five bucks via eCheque is probably not the best way to get it! Because by the time you get the points - yup! It'll be sold out again! And if I do another Super-Special Limited Run (Last Chance (Honestly Guys I Mean It This Time)), then I'll end up looking like a complete plonker, so I'm not gonna do that.

So! If you want your points straight away so that you can buy the Emily Bundle, use either money that's already in your PayPal account, or use your credit or debit card via PayPal. Thanks!
Further availability of the Emily Bundle
Admin CavemanJoe2010-08-09 19:15:31 [Permalink]
Hey, folks! When I originally released the Emily Bundle, quite a few people donated via eCheque in order to buy it. eCheque is when PayPal takes the money straight from your bank account, rather than using a card. The problem is that it takes a week or so for the money to go through and for the player to get their points.

So people were donating for points, and then didn't get them until the Emily Bundle had sold out! That's not good!

So, I'm going to do one last run of the Emily Bundle, and I'm gonna give you plenty of notice this time. We have another fifty Emily Bundles, which will go on sale on Monday the 16th of August, one week from today, for the people who tried to buy, had the money, gave the money but still couldn't get the bundle because of PayPal delays.

Have fun!
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