Minotaur.cc Blog

Facebook and the cookie jar – Part II

It’s worth reading the political background to this post if you’ve not already done so: Facebook and the cookie jar As bad as the recent Facebook news stories have been, it’s fairly unlikely many of us are going to stop using it – it’s just too useful as a way...

Facebook and the cookie jar

It’s been a tough week for senior management at Facebook, as the world’s press has finally caught onto what many of us in the tech industry have warned our friends about for years: all those little quizzes you’re doing aren’t just harmless fun. It’s like the world has finally noticed...

Cryptocurrency mining

A question came up recently: “If mining for crypto currency is so profitable why would anyone sell the tech to do it?” Mining is – at the basic mathematics level – searching for hash collisions. Hashing algorithms are an integral part of modern cryptography systems and allow you to create...

The Nexus 5 – or Google’s insatiable takeover of your life

I suspect like many others in the UK, my new Google Nexus 5 smartphone arrived today. I’m not going to go into a long review about it – there are plenty of news sites out there far better at covering that than I. What I will do, though, is document...

RPG Design: Balancing the books

Perhaps the most involved and frustrating thing to get right when designing an RPG is balancing the numbers.¬†Using dice to represent opposed actions is a suspension of disbelief that only works for as long as the numbers make sense. If they’re unfair or lead to ridiculous results it will undermine...

RPG Design: Skills and Languages

I previously discussed skills, and I’d like to expand on that slightly. Tiers upon tiers upon tiers Skills represent your character’s ability to do something. When you attempt to take an action, your skill bonus (combining a basic ability modifer, a number of points you’ve spent training the skill, and...

RPG Design: First Principles

In the last few years of playing roleplaying games – D&D, Pathfinder and a few others – I’ve had various thoughts about the design of such games. I’m going to start writing a column here discussing trends and possible improvements. Pathfinder is our game of choice, and I do love...

Thunderbird / Lightning with Zimbra

Every few months I get a pressing urge to try and throw Outlook off my Windows machine – it’s bloated, isn’t a particularly good IMAP client, and with each passing version gets gradually harder to disable HTML mail entirely. In the past, I’ve ended up trying another mail client, but...