Everyday Evolution

As you’ve probably heard that صدام حسين عبد المجيد التكريتي (that’s “Saddam Hussein”, for those of you who are not fluent in arabic) was executed by hanging on December 30 last year.

People have been discussing if it was a good or bad idea to execute him at the time, but that’s a little too late now.

The aftermath of the execution is an interesting study of human evolution, or perhaps rather the lack of it. Kids all over the world are now hanging themselves and their friends to be just like Saddam.

This is evolution in practice, people! Hanging people on TV is the chlorine of our gene pool it seems. These kids are probably not potential rocket scientists. There are the same kids who think they can fly after having seen Superman cartoons and throw themselves out from the 10th floor window.

Of course, some people will try to blame society and the lack of good parenting, but don’t listen to them. It’s all about evolution, man!

Price War

About a month ago I got an Xbox 360. About a year after other people I know, but better late than really late. It’s a good console, even though one might argue that the timing wasn’t that good; the Wii was released a few weeks later and the PlayStation 3 is just around the corner in Europe. I decided to go for the 360 because I’ve never been a fan of the Nintendo style of games. The PS3 will launch at a ridiculously high price, in the US of A you can get a Wii and a 360 Core system for the price of a single 60GB PS3. The 360 with hard drive clocks in at a massive USD 400 below the 60GB PS3, and the PS3 won’t be available in Norway until March 31.

As you know I’m a big fan of the Great Grand Theft Auto computer game series. Since it’s still a while until GTA IV is released – if all goes according to plan, it will be available on the on October 16 this year – I laid my eyes on what can only be described as a desirable GTA clone: Saints Row.

I tried the demo and it felt a lot like GTA, me like, so I decided to get the game while waiting for GTA IV. For some reason it was a bit hard to find it in the stores downtown. When I finally found a copy my crave for the game disappeared as soon as I saw the price tag. It was 699 Norwegian kroner (NOK)! To put things into perspective; NOK 699 is USD 110 at the current exchange rate!

So I decided to check out the online stores to see if it was possible to get the game a little cheaper there. No luck. The best price I found was NOK 549 (USD 86), which is still a tad ridiculous, and with P&P it would get close to the store price anyway. Amazon.com sells the game for USD 53.99 (NOK 342), and that’s an acceptable place.

Can someone please explain to me what the fuck is going on that makes it possible for Norwegian stores to sell computer games for twice the price of Amazon.com? In my quest for a cheap copy of Saints Row I stumbled across an auction site and that affair ended up costing me USD 150 and beyond. But that’s another story.

The Time Zone Challenge

This entry is mostly just me rambling on about technical stuff and thinking out loud. If you want to read something really entertaining, read “Freedom, Justice and a Disturbingly Gaping Ass” instead.

Work continued on Buingo.com today. I’ve decided to lay down the user logic first to make room for more users and hence more content. That one of the goals of Buingo.com is world domination creates an interesting challenge:

How to handle time zone correctly?

The natural thing would be that every user had the times and dates associated with each Buingo converted to his or her local time zone. If a user in Florida (GMT-5) browsed the Buingo calendar of a user in Paris (GMT+1) posted at one in the night on Friday local time, it would appear as posted at 7pm in the evening on Thursday for the Florida user. Some people would probably argue that everything should be in the local times of the posters, but this way seems natural to me.

If this was a meeting calendar you would like to have all meetings scheduled displayed in your local time, wouldn’t you? Yes, you would.

So now I’m saving everything as GMT in the database regardless of the time zone of the poster. I’m also able to convert all the dates to the local time zone of the person browsing the content once the GMT value is extracted from the database, but I can’t get the calendar to display the Buingos correctly. The problem is that the time zones has to be converted in the database as the database query is executed, not just after the GMT value is extracted.

MySQL has a method for this, CONVERT_TZ, but I have not been able to get it to work properly yet and it’s not supported by the MySQL version my host is using.

Another day, another challenge.

In other, related news; the number of subscribers to the mailing list has actually doubled from January 1. That’s a good start. You an find out how to subscribe at Buingo.com.

Presenting: Buingo.com

In 2005 Yahoo! acquired Flickr and del.icio.us, both for undisclosed sums. In July the same year, News Corp. acquired MySpace.com for whopping $580 million USD in cash. In October 2006 Google bought YouTube for a respectable $1.6 billion USD in stock and Chad and Steve laughed all the way to the bank. They’re probably still waking up at night laughing until they pee themselves. And someone is probably negotiating for the acquisition of Digg as I’m writing this.

The common factor for all these sites is they are all boosting user-generated content. Hell, del.icio.us is basically just a large collection of tagged links. It seems like the secret to becoming filthy, filthy rich is to get a Web 2.0 community site with user-generated content up and running, get the rumor out there and hope that people are not tired of posting personal stuff about themselves on the interweb.

Enter stage left; Buingo.com. At the moment it’s very, very basic, but if time permits it will pretty soon be my ticket to MTV Cribs. I need another semi-dedicated PHP-programmer for this project. You game? I really need to get the user-handling and sign-up in place. Biggest challenge will probably be the damn time zones. Never liked those.

For all I know there might already be a site exactly like this online. But that I don’t know about it means that they haven’t got people talking about it yet so the race to the Google money is still on.