Monopolies and YouTube

Forewarning: This is a rant. It may be a little long, but I'll give you a hug if you read it anyway. It may not change anything in life, but I want people to at least understand why this is not a good situation.

YouTube is basically a monopoly at this point. This is a Very Bad Thing, and it's really starting to show. I don't blog as much as I'd like to, so I'm just going to rant on this for a little bit and hope that something comes out of it.

First, why are they a monopoly? Well that's really easy; they have absolutely no competition in the market. Can you name one site that you visit regularly for video content? Does that website allow the creators to make money on their works, have fairly loose restrictions on content and allow even basic community interaction? The only websites that aren't YouTube that I have even heard of which fit these points are porn and that's not really a good thing. There are a bunch of video hosts out there, but none of them want to compete with YouTube. They restrict their area of focus and sit in their niche corner. (NB: Okay, they're not really a monopoly, we don't need their services any more than we need TV. They're like one.)

It's not so much that a YouTube monopoly is bad. If somebody has to dominate the market then I'm glad it's YouTube. They have been fantastic in the past, proven themselves reliable and have an incredible reach. But monopolies aren't just about "I don't like this big company and I want somebody else", they are self harming by nature and it ...

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Mojang meets Monte Carlo

Recently, Minecraft (PC) hit 10,000,000 sales. That's a big number. 10,000,000 people who bought the game.

Immediately afterwards, Minecraft Pocket Edition (iOS/Android) hit 10,000,000 sales. That's still a big number.

If you add these numbers together, you get 20,000,000. That's an even bigger number. We had to celebrate these big numbers somehow, so Mojang threw a surprise trip without telling any of us any details at all. I'm so happy that they did this. Here's a summary that I wrote up of what happened each day; I don't want to ever forget what happened!

Monday

We woke up, went to the mojang offices. Saw some limos and a huge van outside, nobody knew what was happening. People took our luggage and checked us off their lists. We got told to get into the limos which we were most definitely not going to refuse! We had no idea where we were going, but it stopped outside of a small airport, where some people told us to get onto this small 8-person private jet.

The flight didn't take long, we had to stop for fuel along the way, but we still had no idea where we were going. Eventually when we started the final descent we started to guess italy or france from the looks above, turns out we were in Cannes! We found out that we were going to Monte Carlo, Monaco, and were going to go there in style. We went outside and 15+ sports cars come darting towards us and park alongside the path. All the drivers get out and we're told to pick one!

Neither me or Ola could drive so we hopped into the limos instead, but then we found ...

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The story of the bone and the bukkit

January 1st of this year marked a very special day for me. It's hard for me to believe it, but my dear little Bukkit turned two years old. As cheesy as it sounds, I still remember writing that very first commit as if it were yesterday.

I figured now was a fantastic time to give you a history of the project, its impact on my life, and how everything came about to turn into the huge megaproject that it is today. Some of this may be new information to some people, and some of it may be a little out of order, but I'll try to do my best to make this a worthy read. Whilst the Bukkit project was the best thing that has ever happened to me, it didn't come without some big mistakes and sore spots. I may tell you about those, but they're not easy to write about and may involve a handful of politics.

Before we jump straight into Bukkit, let me take you back to late 2010 and introduce you to another server modding platform formally known as "hMod". Minecraft at this point was in Alpha 1.2 and modding wasn't as much of a thing as it is now. hMod was created by a guy known as hey0, and was an attempt to make a more customisable version of the server without having to learn how to code yourself. That may not sound like a modding platform... and that's because it wasn't created to be one; it just kinda ended up that way. It came with a few handy utilities for server owners such as some commands to control the server with (/ban, /give), a whitelist (this was huge!), and a message of the day. These ...

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Let's watch Let's Plays!

Let's Plays are cool. At first, I wasn't really a fan for them because I just couldn't see the appeal - it seemed like one of those situations where it's fun to make the product, but not fun to use it (in this case; watch them). Lately, I've come to my senses and realized just how incredibly good these are for the gaming industry on so many different levels. Let me take you into my mind as I rant on about this and hope to make something coherent for todays blog post!

For those of you who have somehow steered clear of youtube for the past few years, allow me to enlighten you about what an LP actually is; In its basic form, a Let's Play is a video of someone playing a game. It may sound uninteresting to some, and that's because they're actually so much more than this. I'm going to try to document a few cases of what LPs actually are, and hope to make them sound a little more interesting than that bland description!

Let's Plays are... Fun to watch.

Quite simply, they just are. You're watching a funny person or persons play this game that you've likely already played before, and they're having fun and this makes you feel like you're having fun with them. They joke about the game, you laugh. They have a problem, you can actually help them for their next episode. It's like a fun TV show that allows you to talk to the presenters between the episodes; I guess that's because it actually is.

For some games, like Minecraft, you can just picture the LP being a show that just happens to be set in ...

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Funtimes with two!

Ola's here! Woo!

And she's set up her own blog and is updating it very frequently. You should go check it out because I'm a big slacker and don't update this one often enough! :D Clicky here!

In other news we need to go find her a job, so... if you happen to know anyone who is looking for a Polish + English (+ soon Swedish!) speaking Chef + Graphics Designer then please give either of us an email or tweet!

That's all for now. Go read Ola's blog :D

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I can into Sweden!

I came to Sweden three weeks ago tomorrow, from this blog post. June the 29th. Feels like just yesterday. I've put off blogging about this because I just don't know what to say yet. I'll just go at this from whatever pops into my head and hope it forms a coherent blog post.

First up, Sweden is cool. Literally and figuratively. The weather was awesome and sunny when I got here but it's gotten a lot colder and rainier since. That's good, I like rain. Was even thundering a little too - I haven't heard thunder in many many years!

It's going to take me a lot of time to get used to everything here. It's all the little things that are completely different to back in UK that keep throwing me off. Even the light switches are opposite :( It's also kinda weird hearing Swedish everywhere. I feel like I sometimes know what people are talking about but never what they're saying. I'm picking it up slowly, I think.

My new apartment is awesome. It's huge, very roomy, and just all around great. It feels empty though. I'm sure that will change when Ola gets here :) It has pretty cool internet, 16Mbps down when I'm lucky, but it disconnects very frequently (like every 15 mins or so). Very annoying. I have to get a new router because this one isn't wireless, and if it happens with the new one I'll see about yelling at people to fix it. I also has a TV which is cool, but not that many channels and they're all in Swedish. Oh well, something to learn from!

Mojang is fantastic, the office is huge and looks very nice. The ...

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Meltdown

My computer is fairly old. I think I build it at the start of 2009, and it's starting to show its age.

Since the day I built it, it's always been fairly loud but I've never thought anything of it since I'm always wearing a headset when I'm near it. It's also always had a habit of crashing the graphics card for me. Since day 1, if I'm watching a video or playing a game I'll just have the 10 second blackout and flicker with "Your graphics card stopped working, but it's okay again now". Me being me, I've always forgotten about this 10 seconds later - I'm in the middle of [a game|a movie] man!

Recently, things have gotten worse. My computer will just suddenly stop everything it's doing; the monitors get no signal, the drives stop spinning, all input is dismissed and it acts as though it's powered off with the exception of the case fans which are going crazy. I have to hold the power button for 10 seconds to turn it off "properly", then when I turn it on it does the exact same thing immediately. Turn it off again and turn it back on, and it's fine again for 30 minutes.

I've asked lots of my friends for advice and we all came to the conclusion that it's overheating. Seems obvious now, but it's nice to have group support. To verify this, I installed MSI Afterburner and restarted my computer to see what's up. The results were... quite interesting.

As I write this blog post, my GPU cards are at 85°C and 87°C respectively. The only applications I have open are chrome, XChat and MetroTweet ...

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Let's invade Sweden!

If you read my "I'm a Mojangster" blog post, then you'll probably know that me and my fiancee are moving to Sweden. Well we have a progress report, and as people keep yelling at me to blog more, it's time to share that with you!

We've been looking at apartments and Human Entrance has found us a really awesome one that fits our needs perfectly. It's available June 15th, and we're drawing up contracts now. It comes with all utilities in the rent; including internet! And apparently swedish internet is cool, so this is very awesome. It's also 100% furnished, so huzzah :D

The apartment itself is right next to the current office, but about 30 minutes walk away from the new office (by the time I'm moving, they'll already be in the new one. Probably.) Located on the cool island-thing of Södermalm, I can tell it's going to be a cool area to live in!

Living Room 1 Living Room 2

Assuming everything goes well, I'd likely be moving there on the 4th week of June. My fiancee Ola will join me probably during the first week of July. We're very excited, and I definitely can't wait to start this new life! Very scary too. Moving to a whole new country!

I'm going to miss my family back here in Shrewsbury, but I'll just have to come fly here every now and again to say hi. I also recently just found out that there's a surprising number of Shropshire based redditors who have been hiding until now, and one of them suggested an arbitrary "going away" party... but I'm not so sure I'd be brave enough to attend :D People are scary, man!

That's it for ...

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Calls from the future

I'm pretty sure someone is trying to call me. From the future. No, really.

Sometime last year, the phone rang and Ola picked up. It was a guy, sounding distant and echoey. He said something like "HELLOO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? HELLOO?", some static, then a click and a beep. His voice was really distorted. We thought nothing of it, since our number is one digit off a taxi number and thus we often get wrong numbers.

Towards the end of the year, the phone rang and I picked it up - it was a guy, sounding distant, echoey, panicked and distorted. "HELLOO? CAN YOU HEAR ME?! HELLO?!", static, click, beep. I was instantly reminded of when Ola told me about her answering an identical call many months before. I joked about it being a guy from the future, reminded of the south park episodes where Cartman called himself. It was almost exactly like that.

Yesterday, the phone rang, and guess who it was! Future-man. He sounded panicked, distorted, distant and echoey. "HELLOO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? HELLOO?!", static, click, beep. It was 100% identical to when I last took the call, again many months before, except he sounded more rushed this time. Of course, each time it was a little faster than that one sentence; I'd try to talk to him, say hi, I can hear him, etc. But he'd just repeat "CAN YOU HEAR ME?" or "HELLOO?" and then hang up

I'm convinced that it's someone I know from the future, who has to tell me something important that may change the fate of the world. Or it's a guy who frequently gets the wrong number and has a broken phone. But I prefer the first explanation.

If you're reading this in ...

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I'm a Mojangster!

First off: Sorry for this being late, I really don't have as much time to update my blog as I'd like :( Now that that's out of the way...

I work for Mojang now! Hurrah! I guess this technically means I'm now a real living Game Developer and that's pretty cool and stuff. Living the dream and so forth.

I'll be mostly responsible for designing/implementing both the client and server modding API for Minecraft, and that's a pretty big job, but I'm allowed to go tinkering off and working on other Minecrafty stuff in general; I've only been hired for a week, and I've already made a nice little list of bugs that I've fixed!

So this is pretty cool and all, but unfortunately it's not all fun and games (Get it? Haha. Hah. Sorry...) as it's actually a pretty big life changer for both me and Ola; we'll be moving to Sweden within the next 2/3 months, and that's both scary and awesome. Mostly scary. But pretty awesome. And scary. Oh god.

We're looking for a place to live now, and it's not easy. From what we've been told, finding an apartment in a populated area in Sweden is like finding a "you've won a free ipad" advert that won't steal your credit card info. Anyone have any advice or know any way of helping out? I'd appreciate it!

The rest of the Bukkit guys got hired (Grum, EvilSeph, Tahg) but won't be moving just yet. I'll be foreverabone in Sweden! We're set on going to visit the Mojang offices again towards the end of this month, so that'll be fun!

In other ...

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