Friday, December 13, 2013

The Future of Online Games

Wonder how bad his lag was for Pong?
It’s not very good in my opinion based on what it is currently available. I would much prefer for PC games to be what they were in the 80’s and 90’s when you actually bought the completed game in a box with a CD complete with instructions.

Nowadays they are all under development and they expect you to pay for that while they try to make it work. They really should just call them “Permanent Beta” since they are always undergoing fixes and changes. And they don’t even do a good job of protecting you from malware and hackers trying to get at the money they ask for rubies, gems or other nonsense in game upgrading materials.

If any of these games are based on any war tactics or battles, well you can rest assured that the “coiners” or “wallet warriors” will be out in full force just after school gets out your local time. They must drive their mom’s nuts with the “Mom can I have the credit card” so they can amass a team of fully-equipped highest end “warriors”. What do you learn from that approach that is of any use in the real world? And what fun or challenge is that to the player? All it leads too is boredom for all parties.

That is, of course, if you can deal with the lag on your ISP that is always prevalent at those hours of the day when all the little “Johnny Wallet Warriors” get on their latest tablet or PC before migrating to the Xbox. Hard to do anything on a computer when it stops and starts like a 100 year old man crossing the street in the middle of winter.

And then the programmers are messing it all up by trying to show what they can do but really can’t do well and that is to make all games harder rather than more playable. All the package air flight games were destroyed by this approach since it really might have been some use in trying to acquire your pilot’s license, not to mention that I get motion sickness trying to play any submarine game if it is on the surface with all that rocking and rolling; is that really necessary?

And it seems the programmers and the chief financial guys are trying to dream up ways to keep you online 24/7 thinking that you might actually buy more rubies that way to get further into the game. All it did for me was increase my frustration level enough that I just quit them when I see the latest trap they are building or get notification that the site now has malware on it. I want to have fun not get locked to my computer like the guy above in the show LOST.

But what more do you expect from the last two guys who got picked in your playground games, you know the guys who couldn't play worth a lick and new all the rules and the physics involved in playing the game but could not apply them. That’s where all the programmers and financial officers all came from and probably the lawyers were next to last to be picked.

And so sadly all games and now companies are controlled by this bunch and not the creative folks that used to run things. And I guess that pretty much explains why online games and most companies are just no fun anymore. The last guys to get picked got control of the ball somehow and they aren't giving it back for nothing.

That isn't going to happen until some of us decide to let it be known that it is time for a change because this is clearly not working very well. So time for another diversion then and maybe my music studio is the place for that where you actually have to work at the task to get good at it. It is just another game but it does provide a nice change from all the boring music that gets programmed in studios today.

Maybe that’s the lesson for me. Play the stuff that gives you enjoyment since what you have been doing online is just a big fail.

And when the game you finally like to play doesn't return the income that the designers' want, they just shut it down and say thank you for your money and will return nothing. You and your new family of friends you made are left holding the bag and all the creative ways you learned to play the game are all for nothing. It makes you wonder what is wrong with businesses today but it is really quite simple. They are all driven by the chase for the almighty dollar and nothing else matters to them. It truly is just very sad, very sad indeed.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Anno Online December Page

This post just exists to make it easier to find the original tips page since that is now in October Archives.

Link to Anno Online October Tips

How to Change a Roll of Toilet Paper

Sometimes people go a little overboard

So the writer is running low on material in keeping with the topic. Nope, as every dog or cat owner or parent of toddlers knows, there is a better way to install that most needed inventory in most people’s favourite reading room.

While it may in fact be slightly more efficient to the user to have the first piece closest to you, the pet owners and parents know that you are just going to end up wasting another roll of that valuable commodity. Seems that when the cat, dog or toddler gets effected by the latest lunar table high activity time they go into one of those crazy fits of activity that are otherwise quite unexplainable. Seems paws and little hands cannot resist the need to expel a pile of pent up energy on blinding speed repetitive paw or hand pulls and the job is not complete until the entire roll is on the floor. Only the truly mean parent tells another member of the family to roll it all back up on the cardboard cone.

And for those truly lazy individuals that do nothing more than put a new roll on top of the bathroom sink counter you are just tempting basic physics. Just as all golf course superintendents know, all water eventually finds its way downhill (well at least the good ones know that). Placing a roll of toilet paper on the counter is just asking for trouble since it will attempt to seek the middle of the sink when you first begin to run water in it, thus rendering the valuable commodity totally useless except for maybe a good projectile to be used in college dormitory fights.

And I would expect that all bathrooms in hell are always out of toilet paper (if there are any). That is something that I do hope you never find out just as Terry Fox and Nelson Mandela will never know. I’m sure they are having a really nice conversation. Maybe Terry is trying to explain ice hockey to Nelson. And I bet they are having a good laugh, too. They both earned that right.

Have a nice day and check the toilet paper stock. It is also good at catching tears.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Anno Online Game Tip BUFFS

Buffs are items that are produced in the Provision House to allow you to temporarily boost output of a production house (either your own or a friends). Your buff works at 150% of normal time on a friend's work yard (normal being twice regular production rate).

Why would someone buff another's fish hut??
Probably because they are lazy or just trying to waste a buff. Who needs more fish ever!!!

The Provision House has no upkeep cost and can be built in quantity on any island. It requires no road and can be placed almost anywhere provided there is sufficient green space for its 5x4 footprint. It can be rotated with the use of the “r” key.

Buffs can be made with several materials, take different times to produce and boost production for various times as noted next. Fried fish are made with 30 fish, take 10 minutes to make and normal boost time is 30 minutes. Cake is made with 12 flour, takes 40 minutes to make and normal boost time is 2 hours. Salads are made with 17 spices, take 2 hours to make and normal boost time is 6 hours. Roasts are made with 10 cattle, take 4 hours to make and normal boost time is 12 hours.

To apply a buff, you must open your inventory bag and select one boost and then apply it to the production building using the fist tool that appears. Any building that can be boosted will light up and will end up with a showery effect after the boost has taken. Positioning of the fist is important so you want to see the production building name when doing that. Mines are usually easier to select when you position the cursor over the mountain face and not the deposit square, for example.

Other buffs are available in the shop and during events.

If you have any doubt as to what to buff, it always better to buff the material that is first in any production chain which are also known as raw goods. Wheat is a raw good in the Bread production chain. Buffing Flour, for example, will use up wheat at the increased buff rate. Generally, speaking the highest goods in any player's current production mix are a good option if they are not available to provide you with their advice.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What is Wrong with Government Representation Today

“No one in government, R(epublican) or D(emocrat), looks to the Constitution anymore when making laws and spending money. It is all about agendas and personal power.”

Once again someone’s post in Facebook provides the trigger for yet another writing topic for me. First let me start by saying that I am Canadian and am trying to understand what is going on in the United States now with the closing of all kinds of things that the American public has every right to visit and restricting access to them is bordering on the edge of “treason” or at least “insanity” (in my opinion) since no businessperson would even consider such an act for fear of losing all of its’ customer base.

And a lot of Americans will say that is none of my business, since I am not a resident but the actions taking place there have the possibility of providing ideas for my own countries’ political nuthouse. And the Internet is drawing the world ever closer so it is important to have an understanding of what takes part outside of your own backyard.

I have to agree that the idea behind why there is regional representation in a nation’s capital has gone wildly astray. In days of yore, it was necessary to have that approach to government since not everyone could find the means of travel to that location in a reasonable length of time. And the representatives actually lived a rather normal life within their jurisdiction and were known by most of the folks that lived there. Their agendas were a match to those people and the personal power was not really why they took the job in the first place. They were usually the best person for the job and nothing more.

The selfish approach that the representatives on both sides are taking cannot make their mothers very proud I would think especially in how they are dealing with the veterans’ memorial in that nation’s capital (Million Vet March). I think we are seeing a new emergence of a way of expressing ones’ opinion of how the current political bodies are representing ones’ overall interests.

And I have to believe it is only the beginning of a very ugly battle between a countries’ populace and the governing body (right and wrong). I am waiting to see how it may make its ugly shape known in my country, but I am sure the political folks in Ottawa are waiting anxiously to see what will take place south of the border.

I think I need to take out a copy of an old Chicago (the band) tune that started with a crowd chanting “The whole world’s watching” and listen to it again, because I have to believe that their eyes and political representatives all over the world are firmly planted on the United States to see what will happen next.

The song title is very appropriate for sure: It Better End Soon.

Political Humour
The only good politician is...
Oh that's right those really only exist in history books and Tom Clancy novels.Well most of them are just lawyers trying for more exposure to go back to practicing law to up their hourly fee for stalling stuff from completing. Politics is good practice for that now isn't it.

Have you ever met a lawyer or doctor who does more than just practice? Some do exist but they are mostly tied up by the really wealthy.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Anno Online Game Tip ISLAND HUNTING

Since Newport is missing needed fertility to make hemp for linen, you will need to expand your islands at the 1500 vassal level, so in order to do that you will need a small discovery ship with a sailor as the captain. It is in your best interests to do that as soon as it becomes available to you.

Since the most common island sequence seems to be “Newport, Hemp, Herb, Wheat, Grape, Beeswax” it makes sense that you should be looking for a hemp island and the vast majority of players take this approach since linen increases the income from vassals as soon as you begin supplying it to Newport which is done by transporting.

The next island you will need is herb to make beer for Merchants 250. To discover this island you need small discovery ship with capable sailor. The regular sailor cannot find an herb island or medium islands. To see all the island icons and what the different sailors find, view island types in so you can figure out what size the island you just discovered is in Island Overview. There are more details in that section of ultrafine that cover the numbers and features of islands in greater depth.

The next island is usually wheat and to do that you really need to acquire the ruby island slot in the upper left of Island Overview. Normally you can gain enough rubies through levelling up and other event rewards to get that one or you can get the necessary rubies in the anno homepage shop by clicking on the ruby icon in the upper left of the game screen next to the quest book.

At this point in the game, you are likely running low on space on Newport and moving the wheat production to another island that has wheat fertility is your only option really. If you have medium sized herb or hemp, you undoubtedly have been switching out goat and sheep farms since they are not fertility items.

Grape and Beeswax can only be found by the experienced sailor in a discovery ship. At this point, it is worth noting that the actual ship size of a discovery ship is irrelevant unless you are extremely impatient and want the extra slots for sails. What the discovery ship finds is totally dependent on the captain type so a small ship captained with the appropriate sailor is the least costly way to go.

What is most important to understand is that the deposit make up of all islands combined is what really matters. Island hunting is really all about luck and you cannot wait for the “perfect” island since they do not exist. For example, large islands do not have stone or iron deposits. So when you find a new island, examine the deposits in Island Overview by clicking on the mining cart and then the newly discovered island and decide how they will work with your upcoming needs. Lots of gold deposits are only useful when you have achieved 4000 Imperials since you can do nothing with them until then, for example, so current and near future needs are more important in that decision.

So you may have to learn how to be creative in your trading to make up for shortfalls in the perfect mix of deposits and islands which changes as your grow your population.

There are other approaches to island selection and that is more about how much you can work with trade and how willing you are to acquire ruby island slots. Some players will abandon the hemp island and replace it before getting to Imperials 500 and replace it with wheat. They then buy linen in trade as their exclusive method of supplying that material.

You could also forego a grape island later and not get the benefit of wine for your Imperials or do the same with Beeswax and forego candlesticks for the time being. You can still ascend population by buying the necessary materials on the trade market and pay whatever is being asked at the time.

In Island Hunting, you never really know what you are going to find in the next discovery run, so it is probably best to colonize what you need next no matter what the size and get familiar with how to abandon an island and then replace it with a better one.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Anno Online Game Tip TRADE

The first step in the process for trade is to achieve a population of 250 Merchants on Newport.

You will need to build a new pier on Newport on the beachfront adjacent to the harbourmaster. Always build those piers tight to the harbourmaster since piers are not movable after placement. Following this procedure will let you build 5 base piers on Newport with the deletion of the naval shipyard which you would build on another island or two or more.

You must then cap the pier with the trade storehouse which then provides you with one trade slot. Unlike transport where ships will line up for available slots, trade requires one slot for each separate transaction.

You will need at least one trade ship to buy goods in trade. Selling goods requires no ship for that process since the buyer fulfils that part of the transaction.

Trade works in several ways in the game. As a bare minimum you will need it to trade for oriental goods such as spices. Generally, you will always buy them from Northburgh but occasionally other players’ pricing is lower than offered by him especially at the high end of the range. As an example, I have seen lows of 187 and a high of 426 for spices and prices change every 40 minutes.

Many players also use a trade slot as a supplemental warehouse of sorts and “hide” materials in that slot at a very high price. Personally, I do not favour this action since it has a hidden cost called the opportunity cost which is difficult to measure since it depends on what you would do with the coin that is available by selling those extra goods for coin.

So selling goods is my preferred strategy and you need to overproduce certain materials to have a surplus to sell so you need to buff production buildings often and/or add more production chains than calculator in suggests.

How long it takes for a sale to finish is totally dependent on the capacity of the buyer's ship and how much of the total offer they decided to trade for, so the actual time is not that easy to figure out. Just note that each shipload will take a little over 40 minutes for each return trip and obviously a 40 capacity ship will take much longer than a 190 capacity ship to pick up an order of say 400 units. Payment is made for each shipload pickup.

So that part of trade is not for everyone since it is unpredictable just like the real world stock and mutual fund markets.

To enter into a trade or place an offer, you must access that feature in the harbourmaster office on an island that also has piers capped with trade storehouses. Clicking on the harbourmaster will provide a menu called select landing that provides the trade slots. An available slot is noted by the brown house. Clicking on that house will start the procedure of buying or selling.

You should always access buy first to determine what the current pricing is for the material you are trying to buy or sell. You will be presented with a listing of that island’s warehouse inventory and you would select the material icon that you want to view current trade pricing and offers.

If you were buying, you would just continue on and make the purchase providing you have an available trade ship. You can buy part or all of the offer providing you have the coin to do so. Larger than shipload buys will just cycle until the order is complete. If the order overloads the warehouse limit, it will just sit on your pier until there is warehouse space. The trade slot stays locked but the trade ship is released upon return to your island.

To determine how good or bad a trade offer price is, use production costs as a benchmark which is useful for non-buffed costing. If you do a lot of buffing, you must consider that cost into the overall price of your material and that can be difficult to actually calculate if you buff in spurts and change the buffing type since they all have different costs associated with building them.

Obviously, if you are going to get serious about trade, you want to be buying low and selling higher to make profits. I choose to trade heavily since you can generate coin faster than with just regular cash flow but that requires a heavy investment in pier space and to some extent trade ships. You would never need as many trade ships as you have trade slots.

A cash flow of 1.5K will generate in the neighbourhood of 1.5M coin overnight while smart trading can double or triple that number if you know how to sell properly.  You can also improve your cash flow by purchasing materials that are trading below cost and turn off those production chains for a period of time until you need more production to feed your population. Or you could also resell those at a later date when and if pricing rises. Weekends are often a better time to buy than sell since players who only play then have excess stock and often sell well below cost.

And you should check your offers periodically since there are players that will make a partial trade and leave 1 unit in your slot so it ties up that storehouse until you manually delete that offer. Some people seem to think this is a clever tactic for some silly reason. I guess they think it provides them with some sort of an advantage in a game that has no overall winner. Perhaps they are just future lawyers or politicians in training.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Anno Online Game Tip COLONIZATION

The first requirement is that you have a colonization ship built or the free one you get when you discover your first island. You need to activate it from the inventory bag at the lower right.

Now click on Island Overview (Palm Trees, lower right) and then click on the Ship icon in the upper right of that screen.

Scroll down and locate your colonization ship from that list which looks like a house and will have the status of idle. Click on that ship.

Now click on the island that you want to colonize. Ensure that you have an island slot marked Discover in your 3x3 Island listing.

You then click on the colonize button at the bottom of the Islands listing. The timer under that island will change to 5 hours and count down from there.

When the colonizing ship arrives at the island it will appear in your Islands 3x3 matrix and now be available for development. Make at least one lumberjack hut right away.

The colonizing ship is consumed in the process of that act so you will need to build one for each future colonizing event. You will get a harbourmaster complete with the “dock” aka transport storehouse. Make sure you have one on Newport as well or you cannot do transports.

Build a warehouse as soon as possible and upgrade it as soon as those become available and you have the appropriate resources. A Distribution House is optional for a new island since the harbourmaster is one as well. Click on the harbourmaster to view that coverage range. As you open sectors, they will be added. If there is any doubt as to whether you have proper coverage, double click the harbourmaster to see your island distribution network. Any building that is red has a problem and needs to be corrected. Often the problem is a bad road connection or DH out of range.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Anno Online Game Tip USEFUL BASIC TIPS

3 Fertilities and 2 Newports???

While there are several ways you can play this game, there are many basic things that will help improve overall game performance. Consider the following as suggestions that can help you better achieve that goal.

  • ·       SEPARATE PRODUCTION AND HOUSING—initially that is not a simple task in Newport since you will have few sectors and limited space but improves with more sectors and additional islands.
  • ·        ROAD CONSTRUCTION FOR HOUSING—a good guide for efficient housing placement is “road-house-house-road” in long runs with few crossroads. Try to place crossroads nearer to the end of those long runs.
  • ·       VISIT FRIENDS ISLANDS—in order to do this you will need to make friends with someone, so ask in help or global chat for permission to do so of that person. Right click their name and select add friend. Since most every player will be more advanced than you at this early stage, you can see some things that you do not have in place yet in action.
  • ·       USE ULTRAFINE CALCULATOR—the game requires a proper balance between current population and overall production so load the calculator (basic version for now) and then input just your current population numbers. It will spit back the necessary number of buildings to do that but only that. Any additional materials you need for sector reveals, for example, are not included. Revisit calc anytime you make significant population changes.
  • ·      ASCEND RESIDENCES SLOWLY—if you continue to ascend too quickly and get caught up in the initial income rush, you will soon find yourself chasing your tail to get cash flow back under control. Keep production growth in balance with ascension pace. More mouths will mean more food and clothing to keep income flowing properly.
  • ·       AREA OF INFLUENCE—double click the harbourmaster (does double duty as a DH) to see the area that the carts there cover to avoid over building distribution houses in sector 1, for example. Likewise, marketplaces and services have this effect as well (range varies by building) and best placement for them is to surround them with houses so they are positioned much like the hub of a wheel.
  • ·      EXPLORE NEW AREAS—Click on the nearest cloudy area to find out what is required to open that area on Newport and the time it takes for completion. Generally new areas have deposits and more forests for the creation of wood.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Anno Online Game Tip TRANSPORT

This feature is not available until the player has 1500 Vassals on Newport.

You will need to upgrade the harbourmaster to level 2 which is done by clicking on the harbourmaster and fulfilling the requirements as outlined in the sold green arrow to the left with a mouse over move.

The pre-existing pier that extends from the harbourmaster into the water then needs to be capped with the “dock” which is a construction item in the Infrastructure group in the vassals’ subgroup. The dock is not a dock at all in the true sense since it is really the "transport storehouse" in this game. The translation to English from German is not as good as it could be, in my opinion. Any island you colonize will "convert" the colonizing ship into a harbourmaster complete with the “dock” for all intents and purposes, so that end of the cycle is already ready to handle transport.

You must also build at least one transport ship via the shipyard with parts that you made in the naval engineer. Always activate ships while viewing Newport which simplifies ship management when it comes time to abandon another island.

You set up a transport route in the Island Overview menu with the Routes tab that looks like 4 crates. Click on the + button to add a route. You then first double click the start island and then double click the destination island. You will then be presented with a list of available ships to transport which will later include trade ships that also can transport goods but at a slightly slower speed (also with an added upkeep cost and captain cost).

Double click on the available ship and you will be shown the warehouse menu of materials for the start island where you select what you want to send to the other island. Then click the next button to take you to the destination island.

If there is still ship capacity available, you may select what is left for return to the start island from the destination island. Click next and you will be presented with a summary page where you can optionally name the route and select continuous if you want the ship to do an endless loop between the two islands that can be stopped at any time by you by clicking the x button in routes later. The ship must continue its loop until it completes the current one.

Ship capacity is total for both directions so do not attempt to ship 40 to the destination island return with 40 to the start island (assuming a ship capacity of 40). You could split the shipment to be 20/20, 30/10, 35/5 but the sum of both directions must add up to no more than total capacity.

You can use the route name to help define trips duty which makes dealing with multiple cargos much simpler. I use something like paper110n+++z which lets me know that this ship is shipping paper, has a capacity of 110 and is going from Newport to an island starting with the letter “z”. The 3 plus signs are a code that lets me quickly locate routes that are continuous but that I want to cut off after a number of hours (or at least review the transport progress by checking the destination island for paper inventory). More + signs just denote that I should cut it off sooner than others.

Continuous routes cannot be viewed for current progress while active.

I use the default "My Route" strictly for single loop transports.

Anno Online Game Tip NOT MOVING IN

There are at least two major reasons why population will not move into a residence of any type in the game.  Clicking on one of the residences with that message will tell you what the possible problem is. A bar that is not fully green will likely signify the problem.

The first one is that the population must have a necessary service to allow new population to move into that residence. Some examples of services are the Carpenter’s Workshop and Chapel which first appear in the early stage of the game.  All services can be located in the Construction tab under the Public group at the very end of that menu.

Services do not add to income, they are just a necessary building that provides “permits” to allow new population to move into those residences. Click on any service to see the range it covers. It is wise to surround all services and marketplaces with houses to make the best use of them. Building the missing service will fix that issue.

The second major reason is that there is a missing supply material that the population needs to be fully satisfied and then would produce income for that item. If any of those materials are undersupplied, no new pop will move in until that is corrected. Usually adding one production chain for that material will resolve the problem.

Services, community, faith and entertainment all require 100% compliance while supply materials vary by population type. See Requirements Residences in ultrafine for details.

You should also check your road connections carefully to ensure that there are no missing road fragments. Holding down the spacebar while either creating or deleting roads will make buildings and trees semi-transparent which makes that task simpler. 

Anno Quick Tips - Online Game

These are the items I use in help to provide quick information in the Help Chat window. They are in short form on purpose to avoid overflowing the chat limits for text.

Stay tuned here for future updates and I will expand the explanations. Any topic that starts with a coloured highlighted title is in fact the link to the detailed page.

USEFUL BASIC TIPS…Google "anno quick tips-online game" (bitsbyBozoplay) and locate the coloured link titled USEFUL BASIC TIPS. These tips are basic strategy and tactics that can make your island perform better.

COLONIZATION...Google "anno quick tips-online game" (bitsbyBozoplay) and locate the coloured link titled COLONIZATION which is a detailed explanation of the procedure.

TRANSPORT...First time transport requires vassals 1500, upgrade harbourmaster to level 2, cap that pier with "dock", transport ship. Cargo is shared both ways--40/0, 30/10, 20/20, etc.

TRADE...First time trade requires merchants 250, trade ship for purchases, pier capped with trade storehouse. Go to harbourmaster office to start trade. Use production costs as benchmark for pricing.

ORIENTAL GOODS PRICING…Spice ranges from 187 to 426 and changes price every 40 minutes. Indigo ranges from 135-172, Silk is 2.8K-4.5K.

NOT MOVING IN...New population will not move in if services and materials are not fully satisfied. Click on a residence and look for black bars and build the missing service and/or supply the missing materials. Check road connections as well. Carpenters workshop is the first service required.

UPGRADE RESIDENCE...Achieve 250 pioneers. Click on one and mouse over the solid green arrow to see cost. All needs must be met to start any ascension. All bars must be fully green.

MOVING IN SPEED...Pioneers move in at 1 minute per person, 17 min for Vassals, 24 min for Merchants, 32 min for Imperials as long as needs are met.

GRAPHICS GLITCH FOR SERVICES...On non-Newport islands, vassals and higher can have all black bars but this is just a graphics glitch and the services work fine. Click on the small icon on the black bar and look above for the check-marks to confirm

WIKI...Load in another browser tab. Use calculator to determine what buildings you need for your current population. Timeline will show you all the population levels, upgrades and events.

VISITATION ETIQUETTE…If you have the ability to make buffs, then it is considered a courteous gesture to leave a gift upon visiting a friend’s island(s). Your buff works at 150% of normal time on a friend's work yard.

HOUSING UPGRADES...Look in Island Population (Upper Right) at the Ascension Rights Table. Build the number of Pioneer Residences in the far right column. Make sure all needs are met. When in doubt build more pioneers to ascend anything but keep pace with additional production buildings.

GOODS DELIVERY…Items requested to be delivered in quests will do so automatically if they are in stock on Newport. Just click OK or checkmark to accept.

CONSTRUCTION HELP QUEST…You must buy the wood with rubies which they forgot to tell you.

HERB ISLAND…To discover this island you need small discovery ship with capable sailor. Regular sailor cannot find an herb island or medium islands.

START A TREASURE HUNT…Activate your treasure ship from inventory and locate it next to the lighthouse located offshore of the harbourmaster to the southeast. Click on the ship and then the treasure button.

DELETING SHIPS...Go to the lighthouse and pickaxe the idle ships you no longer require.

GUILDS…They only allow for mail and chat at this point so they are not worth very much yet.

ONLINE HELP... Use the anno forum, and also google "Anno Quick Tips-Online Game" or "bitsbyBozoplay" which is my blog containing links to the specific page.

DISTRIBUTION TROUBLESHOOTING...Double-click the harbourmaster on any island to see if all production buildings light up green. Any red building denotes a problem; either road connection or no DH in range.

STORAGE FULL...Either your warehouse is full of that item or the local building is loaded and carts are busy collecting more needed items. Time will adjust that problem or move/build a DH closer.

MOST COMMON ISLAND SEQUENCE...Newport, Hemp, Herb, Wheat, Grape, Beeswax. (see details in "Anno Online Game Tip ISLAND HUNTING" in bitsbybozoplay)

ISLAND SECTOR COSTS...These are located in islands sector research costs (google "Anno Quick Tips - Online Game (bitsbyBozoplay) for the actual link)

RUBY PIT...Build it on any 3x3 square of build-able land. Converts uncut rubies into normal rubies. Pit can be upgraded with 2900 rubies to improve rate to 1:1 instead of 2:1 uncut to normal. Load uncut from inventory bag to start process.

I am just another game player and do not have any affiliation with Ubisoft, BlueByte or anno. This blog and all stuff about anno online are my personal observations and are meant to be a supplement to the forum and which is a terrific game assistant for all the facts and figures of the game. I highly recommend the calculator in the game to help you with the production/population balance.

Personally, I can't stand online forums because finding stuff there is like looking through the bulletin boards at big grocery stores--the stuff is there but you have to hunt forever to find it. This blog is formatted in Blogger which offers so much more flexibility than chat or forums can ever provide such as including proper links. I use photoshop with screen captures and edit them accordingly to focus on topics.

Friday, September 6, 2013

How I Would Fix the NHL’s Problems

Probably an avid hockey fan

If you are going to fix an organization then you really should look no further than the man that is in charge of that organization. In this case, it is small-statured man that was born and raised in Queens, New York of the name of Gary Betmann. Well what does his physical size and where he is born have to do with any of this I am sure you are asking. Well it has a lot to do with one’s upbringing and exposure to sports which the last time I looked ice hockey was in fact a sport but is quickly becoming more of a struggling business from what I have experienced during Mr Betmann’s tenure as the NHL Commisioner.

Now what do you think the chances are that Mr Bettman ever donned a pair of ice hockey skates with gloves, stick and helmet all positioned in the right place? I think the answer might be probably never. And imagine somewhere around the summer of 1960 when the local Queens’ kids were picking sides in any game you can choose that kids played in those days. Who was most likely to be in the last two kids still left to be selected reluctantly to play the game? In any of your games you probably left all the future politicians, lawyers and chief financial officers to the very last since they could only talk a good game and very seldom could actually play any sport with any level of competency. And when those kids got the ball they weren't giving it up for anything since no one was going to give it to them willingly.

And that is where the NHL owners made their first mistake. Due to the conditions of the time, they gave the ball to someone they thought that could resolve some basic labour issues, expand the league and get better television rights particularly in the United States. Seems to me that you would want a guy with marketing skills and the ability to talk some sense into all parties involved in the future development of the NHL. Well they chose the lawyer and you get what you get when you do that. I heard he makes something in the neighbourhood of $8,000,000 a year for not doing such a great job.

But he is only part of the problem and I will try to list what I think is wrong and how it might be changed. I spent some time working as a sales representative calling on various professional hockey teams when there were two “professional” leagues running known as the NHL and WHA. So I saw the first iteration of the Atlanta NHL franchise (Flames) in operation and various other teams in Birmingham, Alabama, Houston, Phoenix, Cleveland, Cincinnati, San Diego and several other cities that you not would not call hot ice hockey markets although the outdoor temperature was in fact quite hot normally.

So here is the first thing I would do to correct the NHL’s problems. If you do not shovel snow at least twice a year in your city then you do not get an NHL franchise. You may have a minor league/farm team if you have enough Canadian visitors during hockey season to support that team. It is simple really when you think about it. The future of any sport depends on the kids that play it in pick-up games in and around your city and the last time I looked; outdoor hockey rinks are quite rare in those southern US cities. So Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Dallas and the other Florida team will be moved as soon as they show any signs of failure which three easily qualify for now.

And if the Flames move to Calgary didn't convince anyone then maybe the Thrashers failure in Atlanta might be a second lesson on what don’t work when it comes to pro ice hockey. I think future teams will end up in Quebec City, the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario, an additional team in the Chicago market and maybe Seattle but it rains a lot there and outdoor ice doesn’t do well there I would think. The Quebec team would be the Nordiques of course since that will now work with a proper rink and just stock it with lots of French-Canadian players and watch it succeed. The KW team might be called the Farmers since that area of Canada is a lot like Saskatchewan is the CFL team. There are lots of farmers with lots of money with not a lot to do in the middle of winter so they will flock to the arena to watch their heroes and I would stock that team with mostly south-western Ontario farm boys. And Chicago might be the White Eagles and Seattle the Scary Raindrops. OK so the last two need some work.

But the intent is to try and keep the 30 team number in place because they finally have a sort of workable plan for that number. But the schedule would include only 60 regular season games. I think we learned a lot from the 48 game season last year that the only people that didn't like that were the owners and Mr Bettman. I think if the season started when it normally does and the playoffs followed right after, we would get even more interest in playoff hockey since a lot of folks might still actually have to shovel snow out of their driveways during the finals. 

Television would probably be happy with that as well since more people would likely watch regular season games then since they might actually mean something in the playoff hunt. I still have to put my head around how to get the games to be more meaningful and maybe playing games in neighbouring cities or towns that could handle medium sized crowds might make that more workable.

Now I would like to offer the owners my services and they wouldn't have to pay me a big salary like they do Mr Bettman. I’m thinking that they could pay me a by period played at home fee so there would be 30 home games and with 3 periods, each of the 30 owners would pay me like a $2,000 a period consulting fee. It would still work out cheaper than Mr Bettman’s salary and probably could come out of concession stand earnings so they would never miss it.

And I think the players might actually like the fact that a season is shorter but in fairness to the owners they would have to take a pay cut. Since the average player career could probably be longer, then it might actually all come out in the wash. But if that isn't good enough, we could work out some sort of remuneration schedule for making the playoffs and winning the cup which would be an incentive program for all parties. I off course would require a similar piece of the action for my part in developing the program.

And I could help all players take better care of their financial planning by making them invest a specified portion of their annual income in mutual funds so they have something left when their careers end. And that is a simple fee structure that I would propose for my suggestions on where to invest since I don’t have any of the approved licenses to do that—just good common business sense. So they might have to pay someone to actually do the online transactions that need to be done from time to time. So my fee would be based on how much actual ice time they get in a season. I would only want a portion of their salary based on 1 minute of ice time for the whole season to do that task.

So, as an example, let us use Martin St. Louis as a model for this calculation since he is the first name on the list for ice time in (You Google it). Based on last years shortened season Marty played all 48 regular season games and was on the ice for an average of 21.98 minutes. His annual salary for that season is listed at $6,500,000 so if you do the calculations, my fee would be $6161.14, but being the nice guy that I am, we can just round that out to $6,000 and that will work for me. And Marty you will get 3 suggestions annually for that small sum of money since it represents only .09% of your annual contract salary. But the kicker is I have to have at least one player per team or its no deal.

And yes you can get all of that information right off of the NHL website. Seems they have no problem with sharing that stuff but if you ask a team about a player’s injury they will just say that it is either an upper or lower body injury. It sounds to me like a lot of lawyer and bean counter influence to me and players are more like numbers than valuable assets to the organizations at hand.

And the NHLPA site only talks money in simple terms and shows the NHL teams with just the total compensation that each team pays to its players. I think that might be for the benefit of any union member or future member to help decide who they would prefer to sign with for a future contract.

Now I would also like to offer my services to both parties and we can work out some sort of fair compensation for that job as well. And my overall concept will be “Stop killing the golden goose you bozos!!!!” And it goes equally for owners and players alike. I would just get them in a room and start giving them all the complete and unedited version of the “behind closed doors” coaching clinic on how you make the NHL work for both of you. That is a language they all understand and that is how you get both parties to understand.

And sadly my concept would never happen because it is based on common sense and that seems to be the basic problem in all sports' businesses nowadays. You would think that bottom-line thinking would drive these programs first but it seems that stubbornness, brattiness and single-minded thinking come into play, just like the last two kids in the choosies line for your pick-up games of days gone by.

Gary, give me the ball please

No I don’t wanna’

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Venerable Old Mosport Racing

I recently just watched a Labour Day event that took place at this wonderful race track just north of the town of Bowmanville, Ontario. It has and will always be known to me as Mosport Park (moss-port or mose-port, either will do) as Max Papis referred to it at the NASCAR truck race that took place that weekend. Seems the quality of driver and race was better back in the day before Mosport became Canadian Tire Motorsports Park or whatever it is now. The same thing like the Rogers Centre will always be the Skydome for me. I understand the need for sponsorship money to keep these event locations going but they should learn how to incorporate the historically significant name but that is part of the overall problem that racing, like all other sport, is now just a business so winning at any cost seems to be OK.

And so at this race the final lap and the final turn showed that several drivers just “dumped” the guy that was ahead of them and everyone who did that said they didn't like to win that way, or whatever, except Max, who is an old style racer, who has both the greatest respect for the track and most of his competitors except for the bozo that dumped him in the final corner. And as it turns out the driver's girlfriend gets all bent out of shape and decides she wants to get involved in settling this when it is totally the drivers' argument to settle. She is just another race fan and really overstepped the bounds of that position and quite frankly should be subject to assault and battery charges. NASCAR also has an obligation to sanction that woman from further races if she cannot control herself in a proper manner since it is their job to protect the drivers from uncontrolled fan responses. That type of response will only result in less and less fan contact with the drivers if it repeats itself in further events. 

Kelly Heaphy's moment of anger turned out to be an expensive one.
The girlfriend of driver Mike Skeen lost her cool following Sunday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Canada and slapped veteran road racer Max Papis across the face. NASCAR fined Heaphy $2,500 on Wednesday and banned her from all NASCAR events indefinitely. (source USA Today) (The team crew chief was also fined $2,500)

In the good old days at racetracks all over North America those racers would just be part of the surrounding guardrail structure which was sadly less prevalent than it is today so many drivers’ careers ended in tragedy. I do applaud the efforts of all the racing bodies to make the sport much safer but they have also developed a type of driving style that shows no respect for the other drivers. I think the offending drivers should suffer a large penalty like losing 25 positions and it will stop. NASCAR will finally do something about it in their sport when a major tragedy results because of that tactic and sadly no sooner because they help promote the concept of “If it ain’t wreckin’, it aint’t racin’”. There is some truth to that but it can also result in final tragedy and quality race car drivers are not in infinite supply.

But enough about what they call racing today. Let’s go back and visit Mosport around the mid to late 60’s and early 70’s when I used to go there and arrive on a Thursday to set up our campsite for all of our group to camp down around the base of turn 2 in the infield. Only one public washroom on the grounds that I can remember and they did supply some free firewood that was the first trim from sawmills off of logs. The events before race day were all part of the experience and folks at Mosport were mostly well-behaved not like at Watkins Glen where they threw beer bottles at police and sacrificed someone’s car to the “bog” and just burned it to the ground. But it was at the time of the Vietnam War and young guys of draft age had a reason to party down hard since that could be their final party with friends, so I can understand that behaviour.

There are several great viewing spots at Mosport due the fact that the roughly 2 and one half mile track is cut through rolling hills in the countryside and it is not like many other tracks anywhere in the world. I saw all manner of types of cars from Formula One, Can-Am aka Group 7, USAC Stock Cars, USAC/Indy cars and all the levels of other race classes that were always part of a full racing weekend. Driver’s names included Mario Andretti, Sterling Moss, Denis Hulme, Bruce McLaren, A.J. Foyt, Al and Bobby Unser, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Jim Hall, Bill Brack, George Eaton, Graham Hill, Lothar Moshenbacher, Mark Donahue, Parnelli Jones, and few hundred others that made this track their playground for a weekend.

And a full racing weekend package was about $35 dollars with pit privileges. On the Thursday you were often part of the unofficial crew where you might get lucky enough to roll a few Formula One Tires to the paddock area to help out one of the understaffed crews. It always amazed me that the wheel and slick weighed little more than a couple of basketballs and that was all that was in contact with the track pavement.

And you would party at night around a campfire and meet other folks and watch the ad hoc hillclimb event going up the hill in the infield of turn 2 with the crowd lined up on either side of the straight path to the top of the hill. And they were all quite nimble of foot when one of the “competitors” would start to lose that straight line to the top and no one ever seemed to get hurt. Like a giant ant ballet when they would move out of the way. It was so much fun in those days.

And you would watch practice, walk around the track on the actual pavement when practice was over and the rubber from the tires was still very warm and you enjoyed all the sights sounds and smells that were just everywhere. It kind of had a bit of Woodstock- feel to it for sure.

Let’s take a tour around the track and it starts at the start finish line, of course, where the straightaway starts to descend a little into a sweeping right hander and flattens out into a nice straight away that starts to rise just a bit until it reaches probably the toughest corner on the track which is turn 2 where the drivers crest the blind curve and then start a huge sweeping left hander that is more like a roller coaster decent because it drops quite dramatically into a very fast straight that ends at another almost hairpin right hander (maybe ¾) and follows another short straightaway where the drivers get another roller coaster ride via a short left hander that bottoms out in a valley and climbs up to the most famous turn on the course which is turn 5 or Moss Corner named after the legendary Sterling Moss.

Moss Corner starts out with a very tight right hander that flattens out quite quickly and then drops away a bit (sort of a fall away) as the driver completes the final part of the hairpin turn only to have to make another small left turn adjustment to set up the ride up the hill on what is called the Mario Andretti Straightaway which is sort of appropriate since Mario is indeed of Italian origin. 

The straightaway sort of resembles what would happen if you took a wet piece of spaghetti and through it on a board that had a few different sized rocks under it supporting that board because the “straight” follows the contours of the land very tightly. At just about the point that a car would reach maximum speed at the track, the climb up the hill completely flattens out and sort of weaves to the right a bit and cars can get a little light at that point so the giant wings on the good old 7-litre (427 cu. in.) Can Am beasts were a sight to behold there.

Then the car would settle down into a long sweeping right hander and then a short left hander followed by a short straight that had the pit entrance lane on the right. The straight would then rise into the final right hander (turn 10 I think, by then the numbers got confused with all the minor bends in the Andretti straight) and started to flatten out on the final stretch to the finish line.

There really was no best place to watch any race. The best way to handle that was to walk the entire track on the outside of the track since there were fewer guardrails then and mostly just those large square wire fences you see on farms to keep the cattle away from the roads. And you would undoubtedly run into a friend from university or a local drinking establishment because it was a very happening place back then.

You pretty much brought your own supplies which were lots of different food of course but you needed a good cooler that would keep ice for a few days for all the brown pops (and some ordinary pops) that went in and out of those old quality metal boxes which also worked very well as a campfire stool. I guess our deodorants were pretty good because there were no showers anywhere for the general public and I guess the smell of smoke on your clothes masks that somewhat.  

I miss the old place but am comfortable now watching it on television since I know the racing will be just disappointing to me now. I miss the days of the old CNE stock car races and Mosport where the drivers settled their problems the good old way—not on the track but in the pits. If you dumped someone you got unceremoniously dumped on your can with a well-placed fist or two and that was that. You didn't win at any cost because the drivers knew that the other drivers would just let them have at it because the wrong-doer had it coming to him.

I look forward to the day when Tony Stewart doesn't give in to the NASCAR folks and takes out the likes of Logano, Keselowski and now young Elliot in his “truck” which is just a square race car NASCAR so who are you fooling anyway.

Back in the day, you raced each other on the track and only did moderate beating and banging since the driver often funded and owned the racing team. You settled your differences in a sort of modified Marquess of Queensberry Rules. Well I guess racing gloves could be left on but they didn't need much effort to remove their driving helmet and there was no such thing as a Hans device for head and neck protection.

Racing has made several significant advances in safety and thankfully that has helped prevent many tragedies. Sadly Messrs. Donohue, Revson and Hulme (drivers in the first three cars in the top picture) were all lost in separate racing accidents and that was a risk they knew they were taking in their beloved sport. I can’t really remember any driver of that age purposely damaging a race car so it might also be just a sign of the times when mutual respect was more commonplace and a valued quality in any human being and of course the money wasn't like it is today so it was really just a sport. The business side still was in its infancy.

Funny how financial guys and lawyers seem to mess up sports so much now isn't it. I’d pay money to see Tony Stewart take down Gary Bettman, lol.

Microsoft Server Down on Labour Day Weekend

I was trying to update a couple of Windows 8 apps this weekend, the kind that you get for free or a small fee in the Windows store and I kept getting a busy signal.  Seems my little Microsoft Store tile had a little 2 that indicates I have two apps in there that you need to just update but I get the busy signal which is that little partial circle of dots that tells you something is sort of happening. And then you just get a rather formal notice that the site connection failed and to try again later.

I also tried giving Asparion Clock+ a review since I found that for a small charge you can upgrade this handy little app with multiple timers that run in the background in Windows 8 which have soft, melodic chimes and stuff that doesn’t make you jump out of your seat when they pop up on the screen. But since they are tied to the Microsoft store—Can’t do that!

And I wanted to test my Internet Server Provider's connection speed to test my theory that when the young ones get home, the download and upload times get much worse. Well, they all go back to school next week so I expect my local service to start fading sometime in the late afternoon when the schools all empty out and kids of all ages rush home to the safety of their computers and other related electronic toys that need Internet access. Kind of dumb when you think about it because they should be outside playing with their friends and enjoying the nice fall weather and burning off some of those gazillion calories that they ingest from all those fast food not-so-good-for-you-process-the-b’Jesus-out-of-something-that-approximates-real-food. And that app didn’t do anything because it is both a Microsoft product and tied to the store.

Well it is Labour Day Weekend in lots of places and so the folks in Redmond, Washington where Microsoft has its worldwide headquarters, are all probably at an annual picnic where Bill Gates is probably getting his speech ready for this year’s theme which could easily be “We can Sell Crap to Anybody” in reference to the not-so-user-friendly Windows 8 operating system.

Well I gave it a real try and even wrote a “be patient” story called How to avoid Frustration with Windows 8 but mine is quickly wearing thin. The Gates clan would have been better off bringing out Windows 8 as Windows for Tablets or Windows for Small Stuff where you might need that screen-finger-navigation-sign-language technique of using the stupid things. But for the PC they should have just left Windows 7 in place and be done with it. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it and if it is more like Windows 7 if it is working pretty well and functions as well as your toaster than just leave it alone.

And all the Mac users and Linux folks are all saying I told you so but there stuff isn't an option either since they have a rather short list of stuff you can do on those operating systems. So somebody out there should take advantage of this opportunity and come up with an operating system that can run a gazillion apps, doesn't crash, doesn't use some cockamamie finger dance method to interface with it and is just plain easy and reliable.

So Microsoft folks when you get back to work on Tuesday start working on launching Windows 9 which is a variation on Windows 7 that just cleans up what was already the best option out there for everyone. Hope you had fun on the weekend because you kind of screwed up a lot of other nice folk’s weekend with shutting down your website.

I think you need some work on providing better customer service and I am available at a reasonable price to help you with that if you like.

And after researching this some more I was able to determine that the server is not down at all but access to the store is not working and Microsoft provides no reason or feedback as to why. So the lack of proper customer support issue still applies.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Can Fix Your Golf Swing

Relax Man!!!

I would love to have the opportunity to talk to Charles and fix that thing that he has that is sort of referred to as a golf swing that is like no other persons on the planet, but I have seen many that bear a close resemblance to this wonderful man’s efforts to try and play the not so simple game of golf.

For many years I had the privilege of working at a golf course that catered to mostly what we affectionately referred to as casual golfers. Most of them were just plain bad mainly because they didn’t play that often and never got instruction on how to hit a golf ball properly. That little round white thing has a nasty habit of just reacting to whatever physics experiments that you unknowingly apply to it and all it does is react in kind. And I use the plural experiments for a reason since most causal golfer’s swings have a multiple of things going wrong all at once so the ball is ultimately confused and refuses to go in a straight line as you were expecting it to do.

So as a starter and course marshal, I saw thousands of that type of swing. I always hated the term marshal which implied that I was some sort of golf course police. I still did all the time management stuff required to keep the course flow moving as well as can be with this type of golfer but I felt that it was my responsibility as representative of the course, which is in the hospitality business, to do a bang up job of making sure that the players enjoyed themselves while on the premises. It made it easier to deal with the few corrective actions necessary if they didn't show the course or other customers the proper respect they deserve and I seldom ever had any problems since they would have to let down a new friend that they just made if they acted like a bozo. Regular customers were more like family.

But let us go back to the golf swing and how to correct it. When you see a lot of bad golf swings and where the ball goes from a position behind the player (NEVER STAND IN FRONT OF A PLAYER HITTING A GOLF BALL) it all comes into place quite quickly. Standing in front of the player means anywhere in a zone that is equal to or slightly ahead of where the player is and is sort of 9-3 o’clock and that arch in between. It always surprise me how casual golfers would stand in front and off to one side of another casual golfer about to swing. Even the pros sometimes hit an “oops” and utter the most common word you will hear on a golf course. Yes it is only 4 letters long and this is a family show.

So when a player starts the motion of his back-swing and it follows a path that now cuts across the direct line to the hole and finishes far to the left of a right handed swing, the ball is going to start straight and start curving to the right which is the classic slice. That is because that action imparts a clockwise rotation on the ball and those little dimples in the ball react with the resistance to air and cause it to perform a physics experiment that makes the ball do that bending curve. What did you think they put the dimples on the ball to make it look pretty? And any wind only increases the left to right flight action of the ball.

The correction for that is to get the golf swing to finish in a more straight line that matches the desired path and to finish high instead of left. So my simple correction is to advise the golfer to try finishing towards the sky and about 5 holes later they are saying thank you so much. It only lasts for a few more holes because they completely forget that and revert back to their old swing and the ball goes hunting in the woods on the right again.

Another one that gets misconstrued is don’t move your head when you swing or you are lifting your head which are both misinformation. You can’t possibly hit a golf ball properly if there isn’t well-timed head movement and you don’t actually lift your head, you end up standing more erect and top the ball. So the correction is more like keep your focus on the ball until pretty much directly before impact and stay down in the swing and smoothly move through the forward motion that is actually quite natural when you don’t try starting to think about every single step.

And that is where Charles comes into the story now. He does not take a basketball jump shot that looks anything like that even after his playing career has ended. And that is where I would try to start with Charles getting him to understand that the golf swing is a very fluid motion not unlike a well-executed jump shot in basketball. Apparently Charles has a mental image of an actual earthquake taking place at the point of his backswing stopping for way too long and moving forward into motion that generates the power behind a well-executed golf swing. Nothing else really explains that hitch he has or had in his swing.

Looking at the picture I would also take that 3 metal out of his bag and let him hit with maybe a 5-metal, 7 and 9 iron and putter and that is about it.  Use the driver maybe on a tee and that would be pretty much it. No point in using all those clubs if you can’t even hit with one now is there? Looks like the ball may be too far back in his stance (hard to tell with angle of the photo) and get him to stand more erect. His grip doesn’t look all that terrible so it may need less work. And get him to relaxxxxxxx. He looks more like someone who is going to visit a team of doctors about to perform a prostate examination than someone who is supposed to be playing a game. Games are about having fun and that picture doesn’t look much like a man having fun, in my opinion.

So my approach would be to work with him on his rhythm and swing fluidity and use basketball analogies because that is a language he totally understands. He speaks basketball fluently so why not try to teach the game of golf in his language. And that is what is different about my approach to helping a golfer improve his or her swing. I do not have my card nor was my game any better than a 15 handicap mostly (maybe 12 if I played regularly) so I am not allowed to teach at a course.

I cannot be considered an instructor but more of a coach as one player/employee at the course said of me when I was helping him correct his putting stoke a the practice green one day just before he successfully gained his card. He had this unnatural stance that had him standing behind the ball and looking at the hole as he hit the ball which resulted in the ball either pulling slightly to the left or curving to the right if he hit across the ball on impact just like the players on the tee.

And after all of that I would direct any casual golfer to his nearest golf teaching professional to work on fine tuning his swing. So you might think of me as a rough carpenter would be to building a well-carved wooden sculpture. I would do well at getting the basic shapes of the sculpture in place and the teaching professional would fine tune all the nuances that give the sculpture its final shape and form.

The key to a good golf swing is to do it naturally and not think about it so much during the actual motion. So learn how to have a nice relaxing time out there on  the course and keep up with the group in front of you and everyone will have a great day.

Why Casual Golf Should Only Be 12 Holes

Not everyone plays like the pros

I can hear the purists right now bellowing out an “Auck No, laddie” (I think it really isn't auck but it’s almost impossible to understand a true Scotsman). It was a bunch of Scotsmen that did make the game of golf 18 holes in the first place. Rumour has it that they originally played on an 11-hole course and played it twice—once out and once back or in. The greens were probably not what we would be accustomed to in today’s game so they probably had a flag and a tee paired together at each end of the golf hole. So it was 22-holes long initially but even this was too long for the Scotsmen (probably cut into their drinking time or other social activities) so they decided to remove 2 holes and make it 9 out and 9 in making for the 18 holes we now suffer through. So it would appear that it was totally arbitrary.
Having worked at a golf course for many years as a starter and marshal, I learned that the average foursome takes an average of 15 minutes to play a golf hole (12 for a par 3, 15 for a par 4 and 18 for a par 5). The average course consists of 4 par 3’s, 10 par 4’s and 4 par 5’s. Doing the math, that works out to a total of 72 strokes to make par but the average golfer does not break 100 in a round. If you play in a threesome, twosome or solo or are also above average golfers or have no one playing in front of you, then you do stand a chance to play in less than 4 and half hours. And that is where the game of 18-hole recreational golf is too long for most average players.
There is also a greater chance for fatigue after 12 holes or boredom for some so I propose that recreational golf would be better served if it were 12 holes, especially on weekends. So the game would take 3 hours or less and more players would have access to generally overcrowded public or semi-private courses.
Interestingly enough when I discussed this concept with customers and staff alike, it was older golfers and women who thought the idea had merit but it was not limited to these groups. The average golfer plays on lower priced courses which likely means that the tracks are public and semi-private. The average golfer plays the game more for a social event with friends and not to be the next Tiger Woods. So let them play in less than 3 hours on a 12-hole course.
But that won’t happen because courses are designed by people that are relatives of the original players out of the “royal and ancient” in Scotland. Purists be damned, the game of golf needs to be played two ways. Keep all the arcane rules and the 18 holes in place for competitive golf and make allowances for recreational golf which would include, among other things, 12-hole games and more liberal rules since it is leisure we have in mind here and not competition.
Common sense would say that you should move your ball away from a tree, rock or other obstruction that would likely result in a damaged club or injury. The recreational golfer is not sponsored by one of the many club manufacturers so they would have to buy a new club if they broke it. Common sense lift and place without penalty would speed up the game and add to the enjoyment in recreational golf.
But the purist would still bellow out “Auck no laddie, that be against the rules of the royal and ancient game”. I never liked playing with that type of golfer. They did not understand that games are about having fun and winning is the result of having way too much fun.
I don’t play the game anymore since the course I worked at closed down and became another location for oversized ego boxes that only the insanely rich homeowner could afford. But if I did I would like to play the game for fun. Maybe keeping score is the problem for the recreational golfer, trying to find a lost ball or doing other things to try and avoid another stroke. It’s funny how the 19th hole always seems to be the most enjoyable. Now that might be a problem with a 12-hole game since the 19th becomes the 13th but I don’t think that many will care. It’s about having fun in recreational golf and that is what is most important.
After all, we are trying to avoid a stroke.
And stay tuned for another article entitled I Can Fix Your Golf Swing and even one as strange as Charles there. He is improving and I could help him with that since I have seem many just as worse and know what to look for and how to get it back looking more like the ones you see every Sunday with Mr. Feherty doing the fun commentary.

OK so I took more than an hour to write the second story. I had to eat something lol.