Mike's Autojournal 2011-03-27
30 Second Summary
Rebecca Black's video, Friday, is awesome for one big reason - she didn't have to ask anyone's permission to make it. This video required no intervention by an army of suits in some Sony Music headquarters to get filmed, produced, stuck on the web, and viewed 50 million times in less than 60 days. Granted, this video isn't really a creative work, it's a machined vanity production paid for by rich parents, but that takes little away from the power of the distribution medium. Whatever you think of the content, and I'm guessing if you're reading this you're too old to have a valid opinion, being able to release your work to a potential two billion people without needing anyone's permission is awesome.
No one decides what's on the net
There is a great war of content going on. It's been going on for ten years now and it's going to go on for another ten. Assuming the government or big corporations don't screw everything up by breaking the pipes coming into our homes, things will be very good for both producers and consumers.
Books, music, videos, games; none of these require any permission to make or distribute anymore. Nothing prevents anyone from making just about any creative work they want and get that work in front of a potential two billion people.
And it gets easier every day.
The ancient history of the The Social Network
In Lawrence Lessig's review of The Social Network, he states:
What's important here is that Zuckerberg's genius could be embraced by half-a-billion people within six years of its first being launched, without (and here is the critical bit) asking permission of anyone. The real story is not the invention. It is the platform that makes the invention sing. Zuckerberg didn't invent that platform. He was a hacker (a term of praise) who built for it. And as much as Zuckerberg deserves endless respect from every decent soul for his success, the real hero in this story doesn't even get a credit.
What's funny about that is how times have changed in the past seven years. I don't need to buy servers anymore to build an app or post content. I can stick content up on Amazon S3 and pay pennies per gigabit to transfer digital books to anyone in the net-connected world. I can build applications using a hundred cloud services. I can run an entire corporate IT infrastructure without buying a single computer. Zuckerberg needed venture capitalists to buy computing hardware. Now all we need is a credit card.
The hypocrisy of big media
This scares the shit out of big media, and they should be scared. We're watching and laughing as mainstream publications continually struggle to figure out where they fit in the world. Mostly they don't - at least not anywhere near what they look like now. Movie and television production companies complain about piracy but it's not piracy they need to fear. It's shows like Dr. Horrible and The Guild that they need to be scared of. It's happening even faster with music. Rolling Stones reported that Amos Lee broke the record for the lowest selling number one album. Guess what, no one wants CDs anymore. Jonathan Coulton's model is the new way to make music.
Ok, I don't think the video is THAT awesome
Probably my only problem with the video is that it really isn't the creative work of a 13 year old. She didn't write the song. She barely even sung the song. The video was all put together by a vanity producer paid by Rebecca's rich parents. That's not creative work, that's a machine hammering out widgets. That doesn't detract from the power of the medium, however. $2,000 can potentially get a music video in the hands of fifty million viewers. That's impressive even if the content isn't.
Listen to your audience, not a bunch of old farts
What cracked me up about the whole Rebecca Black thing is just how old people sounded. Guess what, unless you're a 13 year old girl, you're not the target audience for "Friday". Neither am I and I don't really care. When you write some rant on Mashable about how Rebecca Black's video is the poster for mediocrity on the internet, you sound exactly like I'd expect someone with the job title of "top social media consultant". I'm not even going to state an opinion of "Friday", it wasn't made for me. The only thing I can criticize is that she didn't have the guts to write her own song and shoot it herself with her friends and a hand-held cam. She had to have a vanity producer make it for her. But the fact that, for $2,000, she got a video in the top 15 songs on iTunes and got 600,000 comments on Youtube - that's something I'll comment on.
I think it's fucking great.
This year at PAX East, Wizards of the Coast sponsored the second Dungeon Master’s Challenge. Dungeon masters were to come to PAX East prepared to run a level 8 adventure for a group of unknown players. Last year, the venerable Dave “the Game” Chalker won the competition. This year, the championship went to Matthew Brenner.
The following adventure, Gravemyst, was my entry and, while I didn’t win, it is still an adventure of which I am proud. While preparing for the competition, I decided to make it “publishable” by designing it and formatting it like any other adventure you might get from DDI or another source.
Download Gravemyst in PDF (1mb)
Download 8th Level Pregen Character Builder exports (100k zip containing six .dnd4e files)
Even if you don’t use the adventure as written, the adventure includes examples of the techniques described in other articles within the adventure such as including “outs” for every battle, skill challenges and puzzles within battles, and heavy use of environmental effects.
The adventure uses the poster map included with the Seekers of the Ashen Crown adventure, the Dragon’s Lair Gamemastery Flip Map, and the Darklands Gamemastery Flip Map.
If you like this adventure, take a look at Sly Flourish’s Dungeon Master Tips and Running Epic Tier D&D Games. You can also bookmark this link to purchase anything from Amazon.
Twitter / mshea
- mshea: @RighteousGraber It's ok to be wrong sometimes.
- mshea: @Heinlein_Fan Yeah, I mention that.
- mshea: @RighteousGraber Exactly right. The future of media is being a star to 10,000 people instead of 10 million.
- mshea: Why Rebecca Black's Friday is Awesome http://bit.ly/eqdGY6
- mshea: If I won the MacArthur Fellowship, I'd make a hardcore animated movie version of Seven Swords: http://t.co/qqLs3wA
- mshea: @JaredvonHindman my dad and I talked about a My Dinner with Andre action figure set.
- mshea: @DaveTheGame @mike_schiller is a good friend just having some fun. He only comes across as a raging asshole on the net.
- mshea: @newbiedm I just send a link. I set up the filter, relinked directly to paypal, and cancelled e-Junkie. $5 lesson learned!
- mshea: Just remember, @mike_schiller, it's all your fault: http://j.mp/hmA9Xw
- mshea: RT @mike_schiller: Just filtered out @mshea's tweets about his god damn book.
- mshea: @newbiedm I'll be damned, I didn't see that option before. I guess I don't need e-junkie!
- mshea: @newbiedm I figure $5 a month is cheap to break my obsession with each individual sale.
- mshea: @newbiedm that still requires you to click "send" though right?
- mshea: @newbiedm Did you switch to e-junkie? How do you like it?
- mshea: @newbiedm It's like when cigar people refer to the "burn of the leaf". It's elitist actor jargon.
- mshea: Just filtered out book sales emails so I can quit obsessing about it now that I don't need to respond.
- mshea: @DaveTheGame save to instapaper, tweet, email, clean interface, black or white backgrounds, save to evernote.
- mshea: Interesting question of the day. What would you do if you got the call from the MacArthur Fellowship? http://j.mp/hxXCwh
- mshea: @RighteousGraber It's a way to handle the distribution of digital products. Payment through paypal and auto-email responders for $5 a month.
- mshea: Trying e-Junkie on @geeksdreamgirl recommendation. $5 a month to not send individual emails myself let's me focus more on new stuff.
- mshea: @geeksdreamgirl Is the only fee from e-junkie the monthly fee of $5? No paypal fees or per-unit sales fees? I may have to switch!
- mshea: @geeksdreamgirl what was it? I forgot.
- mshea: @geeksdreamgirl what was the pdf selling service you recommended at pax? @newbiedm needs help. He's selling too many to dirty his hands.
- mshea: @rjschwalb I don't care how much of a dick you are. You ship like crazy and for that, you are my hero.
- mshea: RT @NotGodinREPOSTs: Are you making something? http://ff.im/-zy1tz
- mshea: @DaveTheGame @jaredvonhindman must have been hitting the site a lot...
- mshea: Weird shit I sold through Amazon: Logic for Lawyers, Persian Girls: A Memoir, Radio Flyer Girls Classic Pink Tricycle with Push Handle
- mshea: @BrainClouds It's infinitely better than the previous one for me - I'm on a mac.
- mshea: @BrainClouds Since its a web app, I'd rather have it buggy than not have it at all. Its not like I paid $60 for it and have to patch.
- mshea: Shatner is pretty awesome: http://youtu.be/g5Xs4EKpj50
- mshea: RT @cwgabriel: In honor of the start of Spring, a classic (and a personal fav) from @TychoBrahe & @cwgabriel. http://bit.ly/fInaHP (via ...
- mshea: @DaveTheGame I love watching people self-checkout with half cash and half personal check. I want to hit them with a french roll.
- mshea: @gapingvoid Digging "Evil Plans" but how will our lives look when we're 60 and tired with shitty health care?
- mshea: @thekiko Seems blasts are so much simpler if not physically accurate in 4e #dnd. How do you find the difference?
- mshea: Watching Heroes season 3. Too crazy a story, but it feels a lot like a comic book. Nice to watch on Netflix.
- mshea: @matt_james_rpg The ideas in the book came from all of us. I'm just the one who wrote it down. Thanks for the insight.
- mshea: @matt_james_rpg Imagewell and Pixelmator are both really good. Pixelmator is a Photoshop clone. Imagewell is a paint / ppt clone.
- mshea: RT @flowingdata: Daily schedule of Benjamin Franklin http://datafl.ws/19m
- mshea: Worst tag line for a browser yet: "Surf at the speed of fast." for the Safari iOS 4.3 browser. barf.
Twitter / SlyFlourish
- SlyFlourish: Just rolled up an Essentials druid for a game tomorrow. I'm not sure why people don't like the Sentinel. It looks pretty cool to me. #dnd
- SlyFlourish: #dnd tip: Reveal the DCs in a skill challenge so players will be more willing to try untrained skills to do things.
- SlyFlourish: RT @loganbonner: Re: Our earlier chat, If a level 1 wizard shoots a magic missile at a level 55 decrepit skeleton minion, he hits level ...
- SlyFlourish: I really dug the use of mobile devices as telepathy in @Neuroglyph's Dark Sun game: http://t.co/FkbMLUq #dnd
- SlyFlourish: RT @4eBlogs: NEUROGLYPH Games: Final Tweaks: Hidden Agendas, Alignments, & other Oddities in my Dark Sun Campaign http://bit.ly/gE4uLi #dnd
- SlyFlourish: @saveversusdeath So you're running three battles and a character dies in battle 1 but there isn't a clear way to just add another character
- SlyFlourish: Hey #fourthcore folks, what should your player do when his or her character dies early in an adventure? What should you do?
- SlyFlourish: @Squach What did you change? What are you using that we talked about?
- SlyFlourish: #dnd tip: Keep your DM screen handy when prepping adventures for the skill and damage table.
- SlyFlourish: What #dnd project would you work on if you got the call from the MacArthur Fellowship? http://j.mp/hxXCwh
- SlyFlourish: I owe my group three good fun fights next week and I plan to deliver. #dnd
- SlyFlourish: BTW, my skirmish idea didn't work out too well when the Beholder also took away encounters and dailies. #dnd
- SlyFlourish: RT @criticalhits: RT @direflail: Got @gamingpaper's 100 page megadungeon in the mail yesterday. Holy crap this is cool. http://youtu.be/ ...
- SlyFlourish: About to talk all Epic with @sarahdarkmagic and @squach on this week's Tome Show. #dnd
- SlyFlourish: @mjbrenner I still hate you for winning, you understand.
- SlyFlourish: RT @criticalhits: New Critical Hit: Interview with PAX East Champion Dungeon Master, Matt Brenner (@mjbrenner) by @slyflourish http://bi ...
- SlyFlourish: @loganbonner Well you or @wotc_rodney are responsible for the awesome disintegration death of a Scout. Cheers!
- SlyFlourish: @IsMyNerdShowing The cut is too high at most places. They mostly want 30% of the cost.
- SlyFlourish: Just submitted @mjbrenner's interview with Critical Hits on his award winning #pax #dnd DM Challenge adventure. Expect it soon!
- SlyFlourish: Running Epic Games ebook: http://j.mp/hAvcmd and Dungeon Master Tips ebook: http://j.mp/8ZzUYL #dnd
- SlyFlourish: Switching from raw Paypal to e-junkie for my DM Tips and Running Epic Games books. If you buy, please share your experiences with me.
- SlyFlourish: In case you missed it, here's my #dnd DM Challenge 8th Level Adventure, Gravemyst, free for download: http://slyflourish.com/gravemyst/
- SlyFlourish: #dnd tip: in Dark Sun, don't have a generic "cross the desert" challenge. Make it specific like lizard hordes or crossing silt challenges.
- SlyFlourish: Anyone know when we're supposed to see the new Essentials Warlord build? I need it for my Dark Sun game.
- SlyFlourish: @ArcaneSpringbrd I think its much harder to challenge paragon tier folks. Also, I removed PHB1 stuff which makes characters more killable.
- SlyFlourish: RT @DMSamuel: Dungeon Master's Roundtable Episode 21 is now live: http://tinyurl.com/6hbosgm #dnd #rpg
- SlyFlourish: @ArcaneSpringbrd Congrats me when you actually see it on the site =)
- SlyFlourish: @darthhartup I don't think its overpowered. Just awesomely deadly.
- SlyFlourish: RT @CStevenRoss: @SlyFlourish your group needs to man-up
- SlyFlourish: The level 9 Monster Vault beholder sure brings back the original lethality a beholder should have. @wizards_dnd, who designed it? #dnd
- SlyFlourish: @joeunrue That stacked with the 2d10+5 Death Ray is pretty bad. They got ripped apart. Thinking about it this morning, I smile a little bit.
- SlyFlourish: Given the capability of level 7 to 9 PCs, the 9th level Beholder from the Monster Vault is the most lethal I've seen. #dnd
- SlyFlourish: Rough game tonight. Beholder killed a PC with disintegrate. My group isn't used to dying or running. Got all quiet and mopey. #dnd
- SlyFlourish: After Finger of Death, I want to see @rjschwalb's version of Power Word: Kill! http://j.mp/eypuFu
- SlyFlourish: @newbiedm I use a Gmail plugin called "canned response" to have a macro response with the link. Takes 10 seconds per email.
- SlyFlourish: @newbiedm Selling so many that I can't keep up is the sort of problem I wish I had. I only sell maybe one to five or six a day.
- SlyFlourish: #dnd tip: The new DM screen's experience reward table makes it very easy to reward effort-based experience. http://bit.ly/cZKZAV
- SlyFlourish: RT @deadorcs: Another great DM Roundtable with a @DMSamuel @SarahDarkmagic with guests @SlyFlourish & @WolfSamurai ! Great show, all! T ...
- SlyFlourish: Really enjoyed this statistical analysis of the 4e #dnd Penny Arcade games by @TheIdDM: http://t.co/Hi7ubIq
- SlyFlourish: Who has questions for the DM Round Table? We're recording right now!
- SlyFlourish: @DMSamuel @deadorcs @sarahdarkmagic @thadeousc @wolfsamurai definitely up for it. Name the time.
- SlyFlourish: RT @SarahDarkmagic: I like using cut scenes to show players how the decisions they make for their characters affect the larger game world.
- SlyFlourish: @brannonhutchins Good deal, I hope you like it.
- SlyFlourish: @brannonhutchins Did you try the link again recently? Try this one: http://j.mp/fEN7H5
- SlyFlourish: RT @Alphastream: Wow, really nice painting of #dnd #CastleRavenloft minis: http://bit.ly/CRpainted and Ashardalon: http://bit.ly/Asharda ...
- SlyFlourish: @brannonhutchins What problem are you having with my PDF?
- SlyFlourish: @loganbonner Yeah, but it will do. I've been using the Compendium since I got my new mac. Nice to have something else.
- SlyFlourish: Looks like the new #dnd Monster Builder is up and online! http://j.mp/hc8BcW
- SlyFlourish: @Wizards_DnD Thank you for the kind words!
- SlyFlourish: RT @Wizards_DnD: If you're a DM who likes good advice and wants to tweak his/her game, make sure you follow @slyflourish - he's full of ...
- SlyFlourish: #dnd tip: When rebuilding monsters, start with the traits that define the monster and build mechanics around those traits.
- SlyFlourish: @DaveTheGame Yeah, the seed is definitely thin. I wanted it to be clearly recognizable to a #dnd group for a one-shot.
- SlyFlourish: @Matt_Sheridan I'll look at the DCs but so far Monster Vault monsters run fine in Gamma World.
- SlyFlourish: @DaveTheGame The "rescue the townspeople" ended up being a nice "out"y battle though. It wasn't about killing monsters but saving people.
- SlyFlourish: @DaveTheGame Yeah, I made a decision late that it needed to start with an encounter. I didn't want an hour before they rolled a d20.
- SlyFlourish: @DaveTheGame What did you think of my "Gravemyst" adventure?
- SlyFlourish: @hutchback @DaveTheGame I spent way too much time formatting that adventure, but I wanted to make it "publishable".
- SlyFlourish: @hutchback @DaveTheGame I'd sure love to learn more about how to design a good adventure format in Apple Pages.
- SlyFlourish: In case you missed it, check out @neuroglyph's excellent review of Running Epic Games: http://j.mp/e2ya45 #dnd
- SlyFlourish: @newbiedm Happy Birthday from the Everpresent Sly Flourish!
- SlyFlourish: RT @mikesdndblog: Wrath of Ashardalon is today's Tanga Deal. $39 http://bit.ly/fJ8V5L #dnd
- SlyFlourish: @Matt_Sheridan Yeeks, I didn't think the DCs for Gamma World were different. I'll have to look into that.
- SlyFlourish: @Matt_Sheridan Low and medium damage from the new DM screen. High and limited = 125% and 150% of medium.
- SlyFlourish: @mercutio531 I think any monster book from hereon out is going to be very good. They've learned a lot over the past two years.
- SlyFlourish: @bandofmisfits I'd say, from about level 3+, the math and mechanics are better in the newer books.
- SlyFlourish: @mercutio531 Nope. MM3, Dark Sun Creature Compendium, and Monster Vault are the only good monster stat blocks available.
- SlyFlourish: #dnd tip: Sell off your old monster books and stick to the MM3, Monster Vault, Demonomicon, and Dark Sun Creature Catalog.
- SlyFlourish: #dnd SlyFlourish: D&D Challenge Adventure: Gravemyst http://goo.gl/fb/pZjyy
- SlyFlourish: Trying to get all Leverage in my next #dnd game and it's scary to let things run so loose.
- SlyFlourish: #dnd tip: Gang warfare is always an interesting story choice for a Dark Sun campaign set in Tyr. Which gangs are rivals and which allies?
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