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Steve Sandvik
Works at The Omni Group
Attended University of Washington
Lives in Seattle, WA
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Steve Sandvik

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David Brin >>> Frank Miller
David Brin originally shared:
 
I’ve had it with Frank Miller's obsessive hatred of citizenship, which he portrays as futile and decadent in every work, His latest screed - a vicious attack onthe confused but eagerly civic-minded kids in Occupy Wall Street - prompted me to finally post my long delayed response to the book & film "300"... one of the worst deposits of propaganda in our time.
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Steve Sandvik

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(I posted this on [other nameless social network] already, but I have different followers here, so why not check here too)

Are there any MMOs out there that are popular, contain significant PvE content with in-game character advancement, don't require an insane time commitment (looking at you, EVE), but don't have permanent factions? (i.e. where the player can choose to change allegiance as part of their development, rather than by paying Blizzard or whoever 25 bucks for a faction transfer) Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates meets most of those, but no real in-game advancement and, well, I played it to death for a few years already. I'm not a huge fan of the predefined faction thing, though I know it's way easier for the game designers to write the story that way (and in the case of something like LOTRO, the story's already written that way :) ). Bonus points if it runs natively on OS X Lion.

Oh, and not "free to play" where "free to play" means we hook you with a free game and then constantly try to upsell you in-game.
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City of Heroes seems to fit your criteria. A hero can become a villain (and the other way)by doing certain missions in game, it takes awhile but very story driven. Lots and lots of PVE, I almost never did PVP. Most missions take under 30 minutes. Lots of hardcore RPGer, if you want to really role play. They have also gone free to play (you get more character slots if you subscribe), but I think you can play just about everything in free to play.
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Steve Sandvik

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David Brin originally shared:
 
The ACLU issued a document clarifying your right to photograph in public. "When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view. That includes pictures of federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police. Police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances." I'm moderate about the state looking at us, but we must be militant about looking back.
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Steve Sandvik

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I'm confused by the people who uncharitably think G+'s anonymity issues are tied to monetizing datamining. The evidence suggests that's going quite well for them already. My zeroth-order approximation of their nefarious motive (assuming they have one--really I think this is just ham-handed idiocy) is that they are trying to avoid being blocked in large countries with authoritarian leadership and large, disgruntled minorities. Well, "country", really.
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What, the USA? :D
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Steve Sandvik

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Incidentally, "I can't think of a good reason to let people use pseudonyms" is exactly the same method of non-reasoning used by creationists. Whether or not you can imagine something has little bearing on its existence.
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Steve Sandvik

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+James Whittaker, great presentation at QASIG tonight! Lots of food for thought.
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You know, it wouldn't matter if G+ screwed up the nym thing if it weren't so damn cool otherwise.
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So, yes, the "Tea Party" are being destructive, idiot, children.

However, this only works because the people who were nominally elected to govern care far more about getting reelected than they do about governing. That's really the breakdown in the system. Lobbying, threatening, all that stuff? It's an outgrowth of Congress's abject fear of being held responsible for anything.
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Agreed. I've read some of that evidence. I guess it depends on which set of problems we want to deal with that (NOT all of them at once, mind you) but I still think the idea has merit. Maybe they way it has been approached needs to be reconsidered.
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This is really interesting, though I suspect it's overstating the case a little.
Sean Puckett originally shared:
 
Building a Nation with G+
I suspect the fine people at GOOG HQ would intuit the folly of inviting a team of sociologists to solve a disk caching race condition. So why then did they think themselves, a group of engineers, could trivially solve a sociology problem? H L Mencken boiled down the issue delightfully: For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

Requiring real names on Google Plus is that clear, simple and wrong answer. Spam, trolling, libel, identity theft, bullying, ... anything you can possibly name as a negative side effect of pseudonymous accounts is completely outweighed by an essential need to facilitate speech for people who, out of fear, dare not speak aloud with their real names. People such as: critics of harsh regimes, victims of crimes, whistle blowers, abuse sufferers, targets of bullying, youth at risk, ...

But the "real names" issue, while contentious, is only the first of what is I am afraid is going to be a long line of sociologically based problems with Google Plus.

Problems, ironically, brought upon by Google's clear engineering success. Success in creating such a useful suite of tools that hundreds of millions of people rely on Google’s services daily, if not minute-by-minute, to complete and compliment every facet of their online lives.

And now with Google Plus to tie them together, they have taken our online virtual lives and given them a place to co-exist, to form connections, to build relationships, to make a home for our ideas and information and communication. They've done done something new, something others have tried but ultimately failed to deliver at a global and self-perpetuating scale.

This is the point where someone interjects and says: “I know where you’re going and you’re wrong. Google is a business! It exists to make a profit. And you aren’t even Google’s customer! You’re the product; your eyeballs are sold to the highest bidding advertiser. They made almost $30 billion dollars doing this in 2010. The only thing you are to Google is $30 a year.”

Stop thinking of Google as a business. While this is true, it doesn’t represent the full value proposition of what is being offered through their combined service platform. Never before has one company offered so much to so many on the internet. The paradigms are shifting; have shifted. This is a new world.

With Google Plus, they have created a virtual nation. A nation, as of this writing, with 20+ million interested, engaged and thoughtful individuals. A nation that, on July 31, will fling open its borders to the entire connected population of the world: come in, everyone, join all your friends and family and co-workers in this new and wonderful online communitynation.

Think of the $30 our eyeballs are worth, then -- what each of our accounts contribute to their bottom line -- as tax. A tax that must be paid for management, upkeep and infrastructure. If I’m worth so much to Google as a virtual citizen, if I’m paying my taxes, shouldn’t I also have rights? Due process? Representation?

And so I ask Google, as designer, creator and caretaker of this new nation: what kind of nation is it going to be?

Are you creating a police state where everyone must at all times be able to "show their papers"? An authoritarian autocracy, beholden to no one, where dissent is rewarded by disappearance fait accompli?

That's the path we've been shown; dark and shrouded in fear: one false move and poof. The blogs are afire with reports of these virtual deaths, these datacides, for crimes as trivial as having an name that doesn't match one's ethnicity.

Or, perhaps were you trying instead to create a nation that was open and egalitarian? A nation flexible and responsive to the needs of its citizens. Citizens, some of whom, like me, are perfectly fine with connecting their virtual lives to their real lives. And some of whom are not, for reasons as varied as fingerprints and as valid as their own uncertainties or fears.

Citizens whom, either through mistake or nefarious intent, may at one time or another break a rule. What then? Do we exist merely at your whim? If we violate one of your nation’s laws, is our online citizenship to be summarily not just revoked but deleted, with extreme prejudice? Are we to be wiped out, voided, elided from history by the actions of a Google-operated Ministry of Truth, only discovering when our passwords no longer work?

I will speak frankly: if that is your intent; if that is the nation you intend to create, a curt, cruel state that demands papers, please! at its borders, and is at any moment ready to strike-out a citizen from history for violating perpetually at-flux rules interpreted at the whim of a secret state police -- you will find your citizenry displeased, to say the least.

This is the cusp; I can feel it. The creation of the first truly successful global virtual nation. It's an exciting time, and as a long-term Google enthusiast, I'm very pleased to be here as the five-coloured g+ flag is raised. But if you want your citizens in good faith to remain, you must treat us with respect, openness and fairness.

Take your next steps thoughtfully, mindfully and carefully. Not with engineered solutions to sociology problems, but by careful application of the wisdom of history.

Create a nation that recognizes itself as such. A nation, importantly, with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, one that applies to all of its citizens.

I'm sure more thoughtful people than I will come up with a complete list, but here are the three I think are critical:

1. The right to maintain one's own information privacy, including real name, to whatever degree one is comfortable with.

2. The right to own one's online identity, including all of its data, and never having it made inaccessible to oneself (even if blocked from everyone else).

3. The right to have rules clearly specified and explained, and for rule infractions to be evaluated and handled by an organization of independent moderators fully accountable only to the citizenry -- not to your bottom line.

I can see the future; I know what your dreams are, Google. I know how you want to engage us. I know what you are building. But have a care how you get there. The data stored on your servers isn't just a bunch of bytes anymore. It's a significant portion of our lives.

We are your virtual citizens, Google. How will you treat with us?

(C) Sean M Puckett CC-BY-NC-SA
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  • The Omni Group
    Software Test Pilot, 2010 - present
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Currently
Seattle, WA
Previously
San Diego, CA - Saratoga Springs, NY - Orlando, FL
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Introduction
You may know me from (in loosely chronological order): Seattle Country Day School; Seattle Prep High School, the University of Washington (where I went by merlyn on the UW BB; and occasionally played Ultimate Frisbee and was a Math major); The US Navy Nuclear Power program (NNPS class 9501, NPTU Ballston Spa, or the USS Abraham Lincoln); TransAlta Centralia Generation; Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates (I was Darksand); XKL LLC; World of Warcraft (I was Thalys and later Allindre on the US-Kilrogg server); or The Omni Group.
Education
  • University of Washington
    Mathematics, 1989 - 1993
  • City University, Washington
    Computer Systems, 2006 - 2007
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Gender
Male
Other names
merlyn (but I'm not Randal Schwartz, though I do sometimes use Perl); Thalys, Allindre (if you play WoW); Darksand (if you played YPP)