Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Long Bet

Last post in my epic week.  This one is again mostly not EVE.  Be sure to check out the rest of this week's posts:

A favorite book of mine is The Nudist on The Late Shift.  It's a collection of short stories from some of the behind-the-scenes cute stories of companies and ideas that actually survived the 90's .com bubble.  Stories about Paypal and Hotmail, and the innovators that made these topics absolutely ubiquitous in our modern day.  A bit different than your standard "how they did it" biography... more silly pub stories than serious analysis.  Go read it.

One story that really stuck with me was about the 10,000 year clock.  Though I was always tickled with the logistics of such an ambitious project (how do you write a manual to last 10,000 years?), the part I really took to heart was their concept of the long bet.  Though I could yammer on and on about specific long bets or how one makes a long bet, I really want to focus in on taking long bets in the technology sector.

One of my favorite classes from school was Dr Anura Jayasumana's Introduction to Computer Networks.  Dr Jayasumana would bookend his classes with big top-level lectures on the bleeding edge of a topic, then work it into the class.  In networks, his research in distributed internet of things was a glimpse into a future full of sensors and autonomous machines quietly crunching behind the scenes; watching, monitoring, alerting us to dangers, and making decisions for us.

At the end of the networks class, he asked us to all make our long bets on what personal computing would look like in 10 years.  I was appalled by the lack of vision my classmates shared in their responses.  "more mobile applications", "smaller, more powerful chips", "sensors monitoring public places".  These can all be filed under "well... duh".  No big, risky, predictions like "the death of the desktop computer and a return to a terminal/mainframe architecture", no "major disruption in services due to the ever-increasing power cost (J/bit) of communication and 'cloud' services (may have paywall)".  Only parrots of what we already know is happening.

Similarly, I find it maddening when the pillars of tech spew out how "innovative" some product is, when it's just another revision of what already exists.  Yes, iPhone/iPod/Blackberry were all innovative in their early revs, but there is no reason to pee yourself in excitement over the iPhone 5.  It kind of boils down to the Henry Ford quote, "If I asked people what they wanted, they would have told me 'a better horse'".  It's not ground breaking if you are just iterating the tech.

Why bring this up?  My streams were a-buzz with news of the PS4 press conference.  And the live-tweets as developer after developer took the stage announcing their offering for the new product only made my heart sink.  Developers carting out old ponies for console release, the today-average hardware offering...

Let me cut to the chase: I think we're going to see more bad news for hardware developers because the age of the console is coming to a close.  Yes, in the last decade, I carted around a phone, iPod, portable gaming system, laptop, etc.  Yes, in my house were each person's desktops, a game console, a VCR (dating myself), DVD player, and they didn't interconnect.  But this was the past... and continuing to "innovate" for that techspace is a recipe for failure.  Mark my words: the day of the console is coming to an end... as is the death of the desktop tower... Enjoy your console/uber-gamer-rig while it lasts, I think this decade is the end of that trend.

As a closing remark, let me tie this back to Prosper; talk is cheap.  Because my personal vision is one of ubiquitous access across all platforms with a centrally hosted "cloud" service, I have structured Prosper to mirror this vision.  The entire design is based off a central hub pushing data out to any spoke that wants it.  From designing the interface to be mobile friendly, to planning for an android app, the system is mean to be universally accessible.  Though some might talk big, they rarely deliver.  The other half of my vision is to build a robust enough "black box" to allow for all the crap work and human mistakes to be automated out, freeing managers from the painful choice "work or play".  Combining both offerings into a solid cloud application should make "Prosper Everywhere"... though we will see if I can afford or actually reach my vision.

What's the point in dreaming if you don't dream big?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cult of Personality

I do adore Freebooted's Blog Banters, and he finally put up one I feel inspired to write about: Propaganda.  Though I've never been one for making those awesome posters, I've always been a fan.  They're one of my favorite mediums.  I'm going to skirt the topic a little and talk about the message a little more than the media, if I may.

Leading a team is about writing a narrative.  Plain and simple, to get people to follow your dream and make your organization successful, you better be writing the story.  Not to say you need to literally keep a timeline and hire a corporate minstrel to sing your collective epic, but a constant eye-on-the prize when it comes to your story will absolutely go miles to motivating your team.  Propaganda is a weapon in your motivational arsenal; a means to put a face on an idea.

The Power of Dissent -- Don't you think she looks tired?

The most powerful force against teamwork is doubt.  A single word from the right person in the right tone will do more damage to an organization than a million bullets.   We have all been on teams where the trust has eroded.  A well placed awox, a mail from a director, a whelping.  Though failure is a large part of the journey to success, mishandling morale can have deadly fallout.

A story I have seen played out time and again is the belligerent director.  Organization is on target with their goals when one butt-hurt director pipes up with a "This is a bad idea" on a public thread.  This ripples up and down the organization until the entire project falls to shreds, leaving the whole team decimated.  I've seen this happen as an 'accident', and also as wholly intentional.  Regardless of intention or blame, the result is usually the same... fail-cascade

To the aspiring leaders out there: the way you talk with your inner circle and the way you interact with the general membership are completely different.  Among your directors, disagreements are natural, expected, and having something to fight over is a good thing.  As a leader to your organization, it's up to you and your inner circle to remain stalwart in the face of adversity.  Pick up the pieces, show your members how you are moving forward as a group.  Hardship is the fire that bonds your members into a cohesive team.  Communal suffering is the best team building.

Elements of Your Narrative


This one is the most straight forward.  Plot is the part where you point to a star on the map and say "this is where we are going".  This is best achieved with achievable and trackable goals.  If you're an industry corp, get your miners to harvest the minerals to build a corp freighter.  If you're a pirate organization, aim for a #kills/month.  Whatever the group is meant to do, make sure you have the boat pointed toward a destination and chart progress.


An organization is nothing without members.  Though it's important to remember "if everyone is special, no one is", highlighting contributors and holding them up to your membership is important.  Point at specific members that made the op successful.  Leadership should try to shoulder failures, where general membership should get to bask in the glory of success.  Bonus points to giving specific credit to those who may not be getting any otherwise... *cough*logistics*cough*.  Remember, for praise to land effectively, you have to highlight INDIVIDUALS. 

On the other side of the coin, it helps to have rivals.  Having an enemy to beat is another powerful motivator. Space is a mean place!  Even if it's a friendly rivalry, having a point to compete against will go a long way to keeping plans on track.


This one is a little tougher to nail down, but make sure your pilots have a sense of ownership.  Place is a powerful motivator.  Fight for home and country.  Maybe you're nomads, maybe you have a comfy home near good mining belts, maybe you have tech to defend.  Use setting as a motivator when you are looking to conquer.  Make sure members and goals have a stake in defending or toppling the castle.  

Drinking the Kool-Aid

As narrator to your story, leadership should be committed to the narrative.  Negatives "will not stop us", successes "are thanks to our divine skill".  I might be painting a broad brush here, but leading a corp in EVE is closer to leading a cult than anything else.  In the end you are convincing people to give their free time to your story.  Though I won't pretend I know how Goon, Test, or PL keep all those cats wrangled, but I have a feeling they use most of the elements above (consciencely or not)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Brain Damage

A bit of a follow up between my What is the Final Point post and Engineer Engineer post.  Again, only tangentially aligned to EVE, and not as much elitist-jerk as my previous engineering post.

I have a couple rivals at my IRL job; not for the point of anything malicious, but as a benchmark to check myself against.  In most respects, we are largely equal: similar responsibilities, similar time on the job, similar backgrounds. The thing that bothers/concerns me about my cohorts is they seem to lack something I think is absolutely required for all who call themselves engineers: Brain damage.

Part of what makes an engineer an engineer is the creative spark and an all-consuming thirst for learning.  As is said so succinctly, "I solve problems".  Without a fire in your belly, you aren't going to make it to the title of engineer, you're going to take a path of less resistance.  Only a fool would take the hard way.

So us fools need some way to feed the fire burning within.  I personally spend my creative energy here on the blog and writing Prosper.  One of my bosses restores pinball machines (seriously, he has the best damned man-cave ever).  I have an online friend who makes lightpacks and controls to be the envy of the block come Christmas time.

This isn't to say that creative madness is reserved to engineers, only that I believe most engineers should possess it.  It distresses me when new-graduate engineers completely lack the verve to save the world.  I get it that engineer money is good, but it isn't good enough for the work alone.

Monday, February 25, 2013

What is the Final Point?

After all the digging and collaboration that went into my article, I was inspired to write a pair of posts.  This first one is dedicated to the long-game and my burning inspiration going into Propser.  The second one (later this week) will be about some broader ideas on a similar subject.

First, some required watching:

This is one of my absolute favorite TED talks.  I also recently picked up Automate This by Christopher Steiner at the suggestion of Blake over at K162Space.  Though I don't consider myself a hardcore code-monkey by any stretch of the imagination, systems and automation absolutely stirs me.  The initial spark for Prosper is right here.

The Beginnings

The beginnings of Prosper are born from two places.  First, an aggravation with the current atmosphere when it comes to EVE data.  Part because my desired data set is pretty laser focused, and the current aggregators each miss the mark in some significant way.  Part because there are huge swaths of the picture missing, or are hosted in disparate places.  The second half comes from an irritation with all the human work that goes into running a successful industrial operation.  Where coordinating more than 10 characters in a truly heavy-industry endeavor becomes a full time job.

Between these two goals, I have more than enough to chew on.  Though I am still working on the data processing part, the dream remains alive and kicking... even if it's painfully slow going.

The Mid-Game

Once the database and T2 tools are up and running and an in-game corp can start being used as beta testers, there is still a ton of work to do.  The end goal should be to enable super-heavy industry in all its forms.  This means being able to support other money makers like research, capitals, T3, industrial contractors, and deep space freight.  As the talent/capital pool grows, a lot of new paradigms for ISK generation outside Jita should become part of the picture.  These will provide new space for new tools and algorithms to facilitate growth.

Of course, the big picture is to open up Prosper to external clients.  Expanding the suite to be pervasive to really allow industrialists at all levels to track their work in one central location.  Also to serve up the kind of data that players really desire so we can stop hearing the whines about "Who will do CCP Diagoras' job".  

The End-Game

Prosper is only a first step in a much larger plan.  If virtual economic data can be automated and manipulated, what is preventing using those schemes on real life systems?  My IRL coworkers make fun of me because of their shallow vision and think it's just about "writing another stock algorithm" as some sort of get-rich-quick scheme.  But that's painfully short sighted.  

Though I have no interest in playing with the all-stars outlined in the video above, there is a ton of new and exciting opportunities in automation.  This project both serves as hobby because I have brain damage and HAVE to solve problems, and as career building through skill acquisition.  Though I can't know now what the future holds, the dream is alive to transcend from virtual economic domination to carving out a space as my own boss one day.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ding - Ship's Ready!

Several weeks of work have finally come to fruition.  That is one completed Nomad.

Only one problem: #BadLuckBrian

That's right, between starting the build and delivering it, Nomad's lost 1B in price.  What's worse, what was lost was entirely margin.  The price to build has stayed flat at 5.8B.  Economic verdict: Settling in-line with the rest of the JF's.  Where every other race has swung with the ups and downs of the market, Nomads remained rock-steady.  If you've been waiting for a good chance to buy a JF, Feb/March are going to be your months!

Unfortunately, with the weekly margin under 500M, that's a lot of ISK to tie up.  Also, the current price free-fall has curbed my appetite to playing in this market in the short term.  The plan is to bank the remaining raw-costs to build Nomad #2, but delay putting it in the machine until margins improve.  I will take the remaining ISK and try to better chase some other high-margin bets in the meantime.  I also want to expand offerings into black ops and the cruisers I currently am missing from the collection.  I would also like to expand freighter production to either 2x Fenrirs or add Obelisks to the rotation.

And true to my promise, I have spaceship cheesecake after the break

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Gray-Space Part Deux

I'd like to offer a correction.  Market relays like EVE-central and Goonmetrics do not use manually exported files.  Instead, they operate in the gray zone of cache scraping that I warned against yesterday.  Credit to a bunch of the #tweetfleet for correcting my error.

Also, if you haven't read @FunkyBacon's blog on the fallout, I seriously endorse it: part1 part2

The Way it Was

Yesterday's post specifically outlined the classic way that specific client data was accessed without the API.  It's still the way most locally-saved features still work, specifically fittings and overview.  Whenever you press import/export inside the game client, files are accessed from \My Documents\EVE\.  This is why (in my opinion) overview modifiers are still fair game, and the means EFT-warriors can get their fits from EFT into EVE and back again.

This sanctioned method is still perfectly valid, and you too can play with the data.  This was how EVE-central got its data until late 2011.  Unfortunately, this stream requires users actively acquiring data, and is prone to bad-data stuffing.  

The Way it Is

Say hello to contribtastic.  This works by scraping the results from every market query you make in-game, then pushing it off to be processed by eve-central.  I'm not particularly savvy on the exact specifics, or how things are parsed... but it works off the live cache files as they are generated.  This provides a much higher quality, more direct, and higher throughput stream of price data for all the hungry marketeers across EVE.  Also, this stream enables more powerful services like EMDR.

This process has not been specifically outlawed by CCP, but absolutely exists in an uncomfortable gray area.  And, without warning, CCP has the ability to pull the functionality out, leaving us with the old-way.  It won't outright kill 3rd party development, but it would be a serious hamstring.

The Tenuous Relationship

There is an unsteady armistice when it comes to the market feeds for EVE.  The rumor I've heard through other player-devs from fanfests say that CCP cannot provide the direct API connection to the market, fearing in-game stability.  On the other hand, 3rd party developers need a high-quality stream of market data to keep the logistical gears moving.  Also, with the generous rate API server hands out IP bans, I really don't want CCP hosting market data via API. This leaves us with the current operating relationship: utilizing the gray-area for market feeds, while CCP turns a blind-eye.  

As this Kelduum scandal runs its course, I am sure there will be calls/threats on the EVE-O forums, once again, to encrypt local cache files.  But I hope that CCP Seagull has the foresight to see how dangerous this proposition is to the so-called "Enablers".

Updates as they become available:

Notes from Entity (developer of eveapi for python and Reverence)

Well, there's this post here that is very explicitly granting permission to read cache: there's also the fact I sent my cache decoder to CCP's CTO for review and approval before releasing it, so I can say with absolute certainty that it is currently perfectly fine to decode the cache. 
Of course, as with any tool, it can be used for evil as well as good, so in the end it still matters what you do with it. 
And CCP is also within their right to revoke the permission if they so choose, but I have not seen any such notice, nor do I really see a reason for them to. 
Besides, forbidding it is pointless because such a policy is unenforceable, but that's another story. 
Hope that answers your question.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Gray-Space Between

Bots and online gaming have a long, troubled, history.  As long as humans compete, there will always be a segment compelled to cheat.  As cheating (real or perceived) becomes worse, the problem snowballs, becoming an arms-race, until the only way to compete is to cheat.

Though I could write a whole article about the snake eating its tail, and how we come to rely on bots, I won't.  Instead I'd like to play Sherlock and work the current EVE-Uni scandal backwards.

How He (could/should have) Did It

90% of what he could have used is absolutely legitimate.  If you put in the effort, you too could build something similar in most regards.

Live Price Data: EVE Market Data Relay (EMDR)

It's EVE-Central on steroids.  EMDR provides a direct feed from the as-it-happens uploads of market logs. This allows you to write a semi-live interface that can provide the shotgun of data required to really transcend the EVE market interface.  By hooking this feed into a website or app, you would be able to watch wide swaths of the market with legitimate data.

Market Tricks: Little Known Tips

TL;DR, between a few keyboard macros and splitting stacks/orders on the market, it's possible to make a lot of changes very quickly.  Split it further where you stack windows and alts, it would be pretty easy to legitimately script some of the more basic market commands.  Protip: the scroll-wheel increments prices by a penny-per-tick


Here's where the operations get murky.  Technically, none of the above techniques interfere with game data. By using EMDR + some keyboard macros, it would be technically simple to make the macros pretty intelligent.  

The problem really starts to arise as you vastly outstrip "normal human" bounds... and averaging updates at 2s/update, I would really hope some klaxons went off for CCP Sreegs.

Where He Went Wrong

After reading the ever expanding story, it looks like he additionally used EVE cache files to achieve his goals.  This is a no-no.  After Bacon ran afoul using similar game data, CCP made it pretty clear that using game cache files was off limits(correction and further analysis can be found here).

Love CCP's response or hate it, the simple truth is live game data is off limits.  The client is sacred, and unless it comes with a straight export feature, or appears in the \My Documents\EVE\ folder, you have no business messing with that data.  As long as in-game mods remain off the table, coming anywhere near the game client (without legitimate path) is a dangerous affair.

Also, I would like to praise CCP Sreegs for his team actually tracking those outside "normal human" operating limits.  It's a fine line to be able to crack down on those representing the outliers without showing your hand as to what you justify as hunting criteria.  As soon as people know the criteria, it's pretty easy to tune your bot down to fly under the radar.  

A Note For CREST

This is the dangerous precipice CCP must tread carefully with CREST.  Given the right tools, EVE will become the playground of bots, completely pushing out humans from large swaths of the game.  And though us developers dream of AUTOMATING ALL THE THINGS, there is a lot of harm that can be done if humans are removed completely from game mechanics.  This is why I try to keep my head down about suggesting new CREST features; because my suggestions are largely self-serving, and I can't even begin to comprehend the damage that could be done to the wider game.

Moar Reading

There are a lot of excellent articles coming out of this scandal.  I'm a little ashamed to throw my hat in the ring next to some of these:

  • Funkybacon did a two part series on this as it unfolded:  Predictions vs Reality
  • of course did a top-level glaze of the scandal: here
  • Poetic Stanziel wrote the first raw blurb to cross my feed.  Interesting for content, even if we found out in the end it's off the mark: here

Friday, February 8, 2013


Just want to do a brief write up about the NOTEC announcement.  I'd do an in-depth analysis, but by the time I finish, this market anomaly will have shaken out, and the greater markets will be settled into their new normal.

If you're interested in digging down the rabbit hole on this one, I have to point at Blake's blog on estimated moon distribution.  Pair that with T2 component build values, and you'll too understand what the full economic impact of this change looks like.


T2 ships are going to get more expensive.  I predict +15% increase in T2 ship prices from where they are today, with a return to normal by mid april.  Margins on building ships are currently halved, and I expect it to take two weeks to shake out for the highest volume products.  Most T2 modules will be untouched or slide up slightly (+5%).  Weapons and ammo will go untouched, ewar will rise the most.

The longer term?  I think NOTEC is going to have a harder time keeping a stranglehold like OTEC did.  Neodymium can be replaced by Platinum, and if you're building Nanotransistors, odds are you have access to Platinum already.  Also Platinum is 6x more plentiful than Neodymium.

Dig a Little Deeper

Neodymium (neo) is the other half of Nanotransistors, Technetium being the first half.  Nanotransistors are ubiquitous across T2.  As Ripard Teg pointed out back when OTEC was announced, a Hulk is 70% Technetium by value.  The problem is that Neodymium is an "R64" material, the most rare.  And all R64 materials have had alchemy reactions for years as part of the effort to release the death-grip Dysprosium had on the T2 market.

But also remember that OTEC was announced the same time the removal of drone refinables was being announced.  This resulted in a one-two punch that bumped ALL prices up, T1 and T2.  So, though it became more expensive to get T2, the usual "relief valve" of T1 was also jammed shut.  Today, mineral supplies are stable, and the T1 ship landscape should see a short term bump in volume as people avoid replacing those shinier T2 hulls.

This new cartel means that we will see a bump in the price of Nanotransistors, which will go into the pockets of OTEC rather than NOTEC 2:1. Items that use the most Nanotransistors and Microprocessors (ships, EWAR mods, missiles) will see some not-insignificant price bump.

The problem is these price bumps are going to be largely temporary.  Once the speculative bubble pops on Nanotransistors, all prices will slouch back to pre-NOTEC values.  Nanotransistors have been on a slow decay since May, and there isn't anything to worry about.

Crazy Predictions

If I may be crazy for a second, I wonder what this will do to Zealot doctrines.  I predict the largest price fluctuation on Zealots, and with T1 cruisers being a 3:2 advantage... I start to wonder how much ISK people are willing to lose.

This is a 1% kind of prediction.  I totally understand why you would bring Zealots over Omens... but when Zealots die, they die in large batches.  Not that I mind.  As long as Zealots remain a go-to source, I pocket 500M every time a big group of them get whelped.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Limits We Set

Behind the scenes I have a lot of limits for my industry project.  These are limits that help keep my project on-goal, and avoid making too much work for myself.

One such goal is maximum Tritanium per week, set at 100M.  This week found me crashing through that ceiling in spectacular fashion as the final tally for this week was over 150M.  It seems I underestimated what freighters + large guns + new mods would do to my freight load.

Why do I tie my goal to Tritanium?  Because it is, by far, the largest share of what I freight for materials.  Since freighters top out at a load of 85M Tritanium, I set the ceiling at 100M so I could handle some spill-over to Red Frog Freight.  Unfortunately, by letting the weekly load grow so large, it took 2 Red Frog contracts to ship just the Tritanium and Pyerite.

This benchmark means a couple things.  First, that my logistics chain is going to get more complicated sooner than I expected.  Second, that I can start employing or contracting miners to supply me.  I should have a post going deeper into the topic of sponsoring miners later this week.

But here I am, opening my doors to private suppliers!  This is your chance to "push button, receive bacon" and help make my life easier!  I will pay Jita prices if you can ship the low-ends I need to keep the industrial machine running.

The particulars:

  • Maximum weekly demand: 150M
  • Contract increments: 10M Units
  • Buy price: Jita lowest-sell at the time of contracting (~6.0/unit)
  • Maximum weekly demand: 50M
  • Contract increments: 5M Units
  • Buy price: Jita Lowest-Sell at time of contracting (~15.5/unit)
  • Maximum weekly demand: 10M
  • Contract increments: 1M Units
  • Buy price: Jita Lowest-Sell at time of contracting (~53.4/unit)
Delivery location: Venilen IX - Moon 7 - Caldari Navy Testing Facilities 
Order Form: Buy Calculator Here

I will have a shared spreadsheet or form to help track orders.  I hope to put a few of you dedicated miners to work!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

All Done but the Waiting

It's about time to bust out the bubbly... the Nomad went in the oven today.  After 6 long weeks of planning, work, and moving more ISK than I care to admit, everything's done but the final delivery.

There is a whole pile of scraps that I was inspired to write.

Some Notes On Procedure

There are a few pro-tips I'd like to share.  A bunch of very little things that I did to try an make the process as painless as possible.  My main concern is that there is a lot of risk on the line that can be all for naught if things go horribly wrong.  Consider the following to avoid massive fail-cascades with huge piles of ISK.

The Canceled Job

Though it did not happen, it could have.  With 6B ISK in materials + 70d of combined manufacturing time on the line, interrupting any of the jobs leading up to the Nomad would be disasterous.  Any canceled job would have destroyed the material that went into it, leaving me holding a sizable bill to start again.

This is where I advocate "do it yourself" with NPC industrial space.  Though you end up paying 25% in time, and maybe some headache with freighting materials, the returns you get in security are absolute.  Short of actually hacking your account, there is no way to interrupt the job.  This does also mean you've trusted 6B in material to one guy... so make triple sure they won't steal or go mysteriously inactive.

I think CCP has really dropped the ball in this regard.  There are only 3 corp rights that can be handed out: Install Research Job, Install Factory Job, Factory Manager.  The problem is that Factory Manager is the only right to allow jobs to be delivered... but also gives absolute rights to cancel jobs too.  If you want to give someone a functional industry role in your corp, you have to give them the rights to cancel everything in one command.  This hasn't been an issue for me (the most you could cancel in one go is 25%, and margin covers that loss), but when you're talking about capitals, there isn't the buffer to fall on.

Notes On Equipment

If you are going to use a POS and don't have to worry about operation security, then there are still a few pitfalls to avoid.  First and foremost: GET A LARGE CALDARI TOWER.  Period.  Stop arguing.  Trust me.

But why?  Because the builds are long and you don't want to cancel your jobs if you can help it.  A large tower gives the option to dickstar-up in case of trouble and try your damnedest to avoid a costly abort.  Though you should be using Caldari anyway, it also offers the best shield HP.  Turtling up your tower, even with a Large Ship Assembly Array will make that tower an unappetizing one.

Extra levels of subterfuge as you see fit... But the key point is: Get a Large Caldari Tower and have a dickstar fit in reserve just in case.

The Value of Parallelism: ...When you can have 2 for twice the price

The real cornerstone of the risk in building a JF is the T2 components.  Thankfully, it's reasonably cheap (13.5M/BPO) to add extra BPOs to your collection to help split the work into smaller chunks.  By limiting work to 1-2d, you have less time to play the waiting game if things go horribly wrong.  

This is significantly more trouble for building regular freighters (~1B/BPO), but equally advised.  You are going to spend all those hours building regardless, why risk it by taking too big a bite?  My personal collection has pairs of the highest volume capital BPOs (Cargo Bays and Drone Bays) that choke production.  Just consider it another cost of doing business.

Thanks Where It Belongs

First off, TheAhmosis deserves a lot of praise.  He's been my go-to guy to help when I run into issues.  When I underestimated the research load for the T2 component BPOs, he was there to help.  Also, thanks to his help and expertise, I was finally able to reign in finances to achieve this goal.  Lastly, having a rival is a great motivator!  TheAhmosis is one of the best industrialists in the game, and if you're looking for a home to do bigger industry work, you should call him in Aideron Technologies.  I can't wait to join forces once again!

Also, I'd like to nod at the QCATS who have put up with my terrible carebearing instead of killing people.  Honorable mention go to Dread Operative, XOr Brasil, and Andre Vauban for contributing meaningfully to doing other industry projects.

Check back soon when I have pretty spaceship cheesecake.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Goals For February

January was an outstanding success, and eyes turn to February.  The ramp up to Nomads went as near-to-plan as anyone could hope (-1B short, but on schedule) and the first is queued to come off the line around the 24th.  Also, as the Accounting Sheet shows, all but the most recent week have been outstanding.  The only bad bet of January was Phobos after the Asakai fight.

Some graph porn:  The black line is %margin, purple is ISK/Contributor... dotted lines are February projections

Outline For February

February is going to be a cash stockpiling month.  With the shortened month, I can only do 3 work weeks.  Also, with the extra-long build times on Nomads, I will need to stock the ISK for a second one before the first comes off the line.  Also, I would like to get the BPOs to be able to do black ops.  Even though the market should significantly cool from the speculation over the proposed black ops changes.  Black ops have had healthy margins for a long time, and the barriers to entry should keep the margins healthy enough to justify 10-15/month.  

The goals:
  • Stockpile 10B ISK cash (will be happy with 5B after Nomad2 buy-in)
  •  Purchase BPOs for Black ops -2.1B
    • Expecting to do Redeemer/Sin.  Friends are all armor tankers
  • Expand to 2 ship builders -2B
    • 2nd character skilled.
    • As main does more capital work, will offload 1/2 load to new alt
  • Maximize current POS allocation
    • 2 module builders (+1)
    • 3 ammo builders (+1)
    • 3 invetors (+1)
    • 2 ship producers (+1)
    • 1 copier
    • 1 research slave
  • Start 9th industry mule by Mar 1

Prosper in February

The primary goal for Prosper is to deploy the foundational database.  Progress is going well for processing the eve-central raw dumps, and I hope to start some of the fancier work in February.  

The three tools I hope to have by the time I deploy the database are:
  • Data Normalizer
    • will take the processed data from the raw dumps and intelligently parse down to a more manageable load
    • Reduce reported systems to "relevant" ones (top 100 by daily market capitalization)
    • Connect-the-dots through null values.  Preferably with more grace than linear connecting
    • Generate global-global and region-global values for higher-level parsing
  • Toaster: The destruction parser
    • Process data from zKillBoard
    • Get daily kill totals for all items
    • Sort kill data by global/HS/LS/Null/WH
    • Add handlers for finer parsing (coalition tracking?)
  • Industrial Cruncher
    • Take blueprint data and add historical data for all items
    • Add instant/7-day/14-day/30-day lagging indicators
    • Load costs from Jita, but allow for custom sourcing for reporting (but not uploading to DB)
I don't expect to hit all the goals (Normalizer + Toaster is the more reasonable goal).  Trying to knock out the hard parts first, since they don't exist yet.  Industry data should be reasonably easy to parse in once the DB is built and seeded.

Trends To Watch in February

There are some really interesting things happening in the numbers I am watching.  First, that the player surge from Retribution is providing a lot more business and competition.  I believe the numbers are growing faster for competitors than new buyers, but I have no way to track that.

My method up to now has been "Guns and Bullets".  While ammo continues to preform inside acceptable margins, the ground is shrinking quickly around guns.  Lasers still are peak performers  but I start to worry as margins dry up on blasters.  It smells like blasters are a popping bubble... here's to hopes of a rubber-band.  Also, this shrinkage has prompted me to diversify more... which is good for the whole system.  As I add new products to my rotation, I stockpile that many more BPCs into the vaults for future pouncing.  With February's theme being "stockpile", this is a good trend.

T2 ships are also a quickly shrinking subset.  January had a lot of healthy margins across ships that serve unique purposes (recons, hictors) and popular FOTM's (Zealots... oh god the zealots).  But tiericide has pushed a whole lot of ships into the obsolete pile.  This is causing the margins to thin out, and the "good" products are thinning too.  My long-bet is as summer rolls around, T2 ships are going to be hit very hard by "the summer doldurms".  Without news about T2's rebalance and plans for tiericide, I think ship production is going to be a bumpy ride for all of 2013.