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Scratch project

My scratch project is online scratch.mit.edu/projects/Bushi/475520. Enjoy!
The gae is a soccer game where you need to take the ball down field past two defenders and then score a goal against a moving and diving Goalie.

Exploring Scratch

We've been playing around with scratch these past few days. Scratch is a cool little application that introduces a person with no experience to a very basic coding language. And those people at MIT have succeeded in that goal I would say. To someone with no experience, Scratch is a great way to introduce anyone of any age to the idea of computer programing.

Unfortunately, to someone like myself with experience in the art of computer programing, scratch seems overly simplistic and flawed. For really basic stuff, scratch is great (and since that is it's main purpose, go scratch!), but for advanced scripts and collision and detection, Scratch is really hard to work with. It needs it's own parameters to make things go the way they want that is very different from C or Java (that's where my experience lies).

A few things that i am having trouble with are changes with the background and if there is a feature or way to make a sprite be able to tell where another sprite is that would be great. The main idea is that i want a sprite to move a certain way if another sprite is to one side of it, and to reverse if the opposite is true.

For people like me with experience with a more comprehensive language, scratch may seem inferior, but I believe that is not the goal thay had in mind. For scratch's main purpose of interactivity with a simple programing idea, scratch gets an A in my book.


PMOG/ Nethernet

For the past few weeks, our class has been playing an online game called PMOG which became the nethernet. This is a cool idea where your firefox browser has a toolbar that can detect other players and you can interact with them through mines and grenades or crates and gift cards. The idea of the game is that you play it while doing your normal internet surfing and thus can play the game while not devoting much time like in massively multiplayer online games.

A cool feature that this game has is the ability to create missions which players take and visit internet sites that you have linked together. This is a great feature that you can use to show other people online different things on a certain topic. A major downside to the missions is that if you want your mission to be truly educational, then you have very limited ways to try and get your viewers to interact with the mission. If a player wanted to, they could just hit "next" and cycle through the missions without ever really seeing anything.

For our purposes, this was a hindrance like no other, but as a player of the game, i feel that this particular problem is irrelevant. People play this game because it's a "Passivly online game" meaning that while playing the game, it's not necessary to read all the information a mission gives you, or even to really pay much attention to the sites at all. This is just a fun idea that people can surf the net in suggested sites and either be interested or not. That's how I play the game, and that's how i believe we all should use it for.

Player name : Bushi


King of Spades

            Spades is one of the most popular partner games in America and is one of the most popular card games to be played online. Spades is also one of the most strategic card games out there. Skilled players have the ability to take a game where they are losing and turn it around to put their opponent’s out of business and put themselves in a position to win. This guide will teach you how to hack into the game of spades and let you become a master like this.

            One of the most important skills a spades player can have in his arsenal is keeping the game in his head and evaluating risk. Always play to influence the score. This may seem obvious, but some players get so occupied with their own hands that they don’t realize that they have the chance to completely change the game. The two main strategies are to maintain your own lead or to destroy an opponent’s lead. If you are mid game with a decent lead (100 -200 points) then you are entitled to play the game conservatively. Don’t let yourselves be set in a hand and allow your opponents to take back the game. Taking a few bags and pulling off a victory is always preferred. Never go nil with a good lead unless your hand has no other options. Notice your opponent’s nil attempts, and try to set their nil, but don’t set your own bid doing so, because that might be their intention. If you are the trailing team, then your options are almost the opposite. Bet a few more, try some nil hands, and try to set your opponent. If you have to take a few bags to set your opponent they go for it! In almost all situations, bags should be the last thing you consider (Ace’s Spades).

            Also how you bid needs to reflect how it will change the game if you succeed. Now let’s imagine that you’ve been playing a hard fought game and it’s down to the wire and the score is 455 to 447. You are bidding third. Your partner bids 2 and your right hand opponent bids 3. As always, you assume that they are being completely honest about their hands so to give their partners the best information they have. Your hand looks like this:
http://www.msoworld.com/mindzine/news/images/s.gif10 4
http://www.msoworld.com/mindzine/news/images/h.gifA Q J
http://www.msoworld.com/mindzine/news/images/d.gif10 8 6 4 3                                         (Andrews, 2000)
http://www.msoworld.com/mindzine/news/images/c.gif7 6 3

Normally this hand would go for a bet of 2. But if you bet 2 that gives your left hand opponent the opportunity to get the easy bet of 2 to allow they to take the victory(if both teams reach 500 at the same time, the team with the most points wins). But if you bet 3, which is feasible with your hand, your opponent will be forced to bet 3 which will be much easier for you to try to set as your opponents have a total bet of 6 (Maguire). Another bidding trick you can use to hack into the mind of the fourth seat bidder is betting much too low. The fourth seat bidder has many advantages because they can have all of the information of the game in front of them and can make a very accurate bid. As a third seat bidder (only use this technique as the third seat bidder) you can use this information against them by bidding either one trick or by going nil. If you bid one, your fourth seat opponent will think that you have a low hand and will bid higher in adjustment for that. If your hand could really take 3 or 4, then take them and take a few bags in order to set your opponent’s bid which is hopefully inflated by your low bid (Scott, Thirty-One ). If you bet nil then this strategy is much more effective, yet is also almost always going to hurt you as well. Whether your hand is a true nil hand or not matters little, the trick is that your opponents will think that your hand is true and will not only bid higher, but will try extra hard to set your nil probably causing them to take less tricks at the beginning. Then at the end, you can show your true colors and take many of the last tricks which will catch you opponents off guard and will almost surely cause them to set. Now if you are asking if this strategy is worth it, look at this: If your partner bet 4 when you went nil and your opponent’s bid was 7 (because it was inflated thinking that they would take more tricks) if you set your opponent’s bet and you team takes the rest, then you have indeed lost less points than you opponent and the game will now be extended because both teams are farther from 500, which is especially useful when your opponent is leading and getting uncomfortably close to that mark(Dustin, Bluff Nil).            

            Another vitally important concept to learn in spades is the ability to hack into the mind of your opponent. The previous example showed how with relative ease, you can manipulate the mind of the fourth seat bidder, but it’s just as important to throw off your opponent during the actual card playing. A great example is how to use your trump spades. Should you play them as trumps, or as leads to force out the other spades? The answer is to use them as what’s best in the situation. If you mix your use of spades they will be harder to counter (Stout, Play). Now these counters can be well used against an opponent that has an obvious preference. If your opponent likes to use their spades to trump other suits, then force them out by leading with a mid to high spade (Kimbrough). If your opponent is just waiting to lead with their spades, then hold on to a few spades and sacrifice them in those moments and wait for your higher cards of other suits to be of higher value with less spades left. Another way to evaluate your opposition is to try and locate higher cards, especially spades. If an opponent runs out of a suit, then you can more easily identify where the cards lie. Also, the higher spades are always counted as a trick, so if someone bets high, then keep track of the cards that they have played that would have counted towards their bid. Then you can know if your opponent is still hiding a high card to come in the late game or if they have fun out of tricks (no pun intended) and can be taken risks on.

            If an average player at spades took each of these skills and mastered them, then they would become a master. This game is impossible to predict, so experience matters(Spades Strategy). These tricks take time to get the hang of, but that’s the spirit of any getting good at any game. The ability to read your opponent or properly bluff bid can never be perfected or completed because every player plays a bit differently and sometimes the best players are not the ones that can figure out the best counters, but the ones that can find weaknesses fastest and hack opponents strategies quickly. These skills are very powerful weapons to any spades player, and I encourage you to go out and test them. Pickup games are usually the best, but many online games are available and waiting. Now go out, and become the new king of spades.


Works Cited

Andrews, Joe (2000). Card Tips and Tricks: Spades. Retrieved from http://www.msoworld.com/mindzine/news/card/tips/andrewstips2.html

Kimbrourg, Dan. Pulling Spades. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/video_4430497_pulling-spades-strategies-winning.html

Maguire, Molly. Tips and strategies for Regular Spades. Retrieved from http://www.angelfire.com/rant/dnp/regspades.htm

Stout, Dustin. The Thirty-One Bid Convention. Retrieved from http://home.att.net/~masterspades/stout1.htm

Stout, Dustin. The Bluff Nil. Retrieved from http://home.att.net/~masterspades/stout3.htm

Stout, Dustin. Play the Table, Not the Cards. Retrieved from http://home.att.net/~masterspades/stout5.htm

Ace’s Spades Tips. Retrieved from http://www.field-of-themes.com/spades/sptips.htm

Spades Strategy. Retrieved from http://www.nofreebids.com/spades/strategy.htm


Assignment : GAME

So far in this class our main assignments have been blogging and now online gaming. What's next? We have opened accounts on PMOG, a passively multiplayer online game, and have been exploring the mechanics of the game. It seems like the perfect game for someone with ADD, you go on your random web searching life until your PMOG toolbar lights up and tells you of some interaction with someone else on the game, be it a mine they set to keep you away, or a crate or mission to keep you going. You have levels (though I haven't figured out how to level up) and chose a specialty that you can use to better interact with the game. This game you play while web surfing and you interact with all kinds of people that visit the sites that you do. There isn't too much of a "goal" to the game, you can level up and have more options available, but it's really not that kind of game. You basically just use it to have even more fun while doing the things you do.  Fun fun. I've enjoyed playing this game though, it's definitely one of the neatest assignments I've ever done.

Counter technocracy

The Counterculture of the 60's and powerful technocrats are two things that you probably never thought would be in the same sentence. Even with all the stereotypes, most of us know that the people involved in the 60s counter culture had a purpose. To many people of this generation's surprise, the ideals of critique that thrived in the 60s extended into many different aspects, including the critique of technocracy.

The values that had fueled the counter culture could easily be aimed towards the criticism of technocracy. Values like collectivism, individual opinion, and a thirst for change had an important role in the counter technocracy. With a need for collective idea's, the internet and freedom of information was needed. Many technocrats had their various ways to hide their secrets and the hacker ideal want to have a collective pool of information and people that can work with it. Technocrats get in the way of this ideal, and the counter culture fights this.

Individual opinion had a major role in every aspect of the counter culture. Personal expression was held into the highest esteem and with a small secluded group of technocrats limiting expression, it was a prime target for the counter culture. Historically these technocrats have had almost complete control over what was on the internet and what wasn't, and makes them a prime target for the 60s counter culture.

The need for change was the most prominent force in the counter culture and as well as the battle against the technocrats. The youth of the 60s saw this powerful and select technocracy and they knew they could change it for the better. Part of the hacker ethic was that computers could change your life for the better, and the counter culture took this ethic upon themselves and against the technocracy. In these and many other ways, the values of the youth counter culture and the ideals of the hacker ethic went hand in hand in the battle against technocracy


We've been watching War Games in class for the last week and now we have to compare the main character the hacker ethic in Steven Levy's book HAckers Heroes of the Computer Revolution. Here we go.

Access to computers should be united and total.

David has a computer in his room and is always on it. He uses his hacking to get access to all sorts of things that he shouldn't including his grades, games, and of course, the military. This unity of all computers and complete access to them is what hackers want so that they can fiddle with them and learn what they can from them.

All information should be free.

David goes everywhere trying to get information on Dr Falken and if needed was more that willing to hack to get the information he needed. This emphasizes the need for all information to be free, because with this freedom of information, all learning is possible and can lead to extraordinary discoveries.

Mistrust Authority

David constantly avoided all authority and when he came in contact with it, he used it to his advantage. He used his misbehavior to get him to see the school logins, and used the door lock hack to get the FBI off his trail when he left NORAD. He not only mistrusted authority, but also used the trust that it gave him to his advantage.

Hackers shouldn't be judged by degrees, age, or position.

David is a perfect example of this being a kid in school with no credentials at all, yet when it came down to the wire, he managed to convince Dr Falken and then the general at NORAD. Even when he was just a boy, he managed to pull off amazing hacking techniques and almost single handedly saved the world from WW III.

You can create art on a computer.

This was very subliminal in the movie. The fact that the entire WW III scenario was all a game to the computer was so intricate that it could be argued that it is an art form. All of the little details that were over simplified in the end to realize the big picture of no victory.

Computers can make your life better

David was always using the computer, but was showing what he was doing to the rest of the onlookers. He wanted to show how you could use a computer to do all sorts of things that would help you enjoy your life. David believed that his life had changed for the better because of computers and wanted to share that with the rest of the people around him.


Today the world seems to be ruled those that can work computers. These Technocrates have the power to rule the minority. They have their minions that they send out to force us into submission by making us feel utterly defeated. Though i've never had a person experience with one of these elites, my dad once had to deal with one of these minions with a checklist trying to wear him down. Luckily, my dad is also a computer wiz and got to the point virtually on his own.

The provider of out internet was bought out and my email account that was connected with them had to change. That wasn't too hard, but for my Microsoft outlook to be able to get the emails from the new address, it had to be reformatted. For my account, this already long process wouldn't work. We kept getting an error message that we couldn't decipher. My Dad decided to use the online chat-with-a-specialist option of figuring it out.

Once we were finally connected, the "specialist" went through an absurdly long checklist of obvious things that we had already tried and once he suggested something we didn't do, he forced us to disconnect and try it. It failed and we didn't want to spend another 30 minutes trying to get back to that point. IF WE HAD JUST BEEN TREATED AS PEOPLE AND NOT PROBLEMS, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AN EASY FIX!

Technocrats have been around for as long as technology. The creation of the internet was a great example. The internet was created on the basis that it would be used to further scientific research. Many scientist wanted that to the the sole purpose of the internet and tried very hard to conceal it from the public. These were technocrats as they wielded this great technological innovation and refused to share it with the public.

This behavior is against everything that a good hacker stands for. This information had to be available to the public for public use. In quick order, the access to the internet was stolen and released. Today information about the internet is still coveted as such and hackers now tackle these new problems as they try and create a world free of information secrecy.