After a few days of tinkering I’ve finally gotten SimCity 5 (the new one) to play on a Mac. My configuration:
- Windows XP with SP3
- VMware Fusion 5.02
- MacBook Air, 1.8 Intel Core i7, 4MB, OS 10.8.2
It’s not lightning-fast, but it’s responsive enough to be playable (seems no worse than SimCity 4 under the same conditions, and I’ve played that for hours).
Increasing my virtual memory setting in VMware eliminated the display-related crashes I was seeing earlier in the week. (I increased from 512MB to 1GB, and I may try 2GB and see what it does.) Once you’re in the game, you can adjust the display settings in ways that may tax the rendering engine a bit less, which I’ll fool around with. To be fair, I’ve had to do the latter for other games (notably Civilization V, which wasn’t playable on this machine’s predecessor until I simplified the rendering requirements).
The setup is still a little balky. Both Origin and SimCity give me odd errors intermittently, but these seem to be situational (e.g., while the virtual machine is still starting up, or when another instance is running), and patience is generally rewarded.
No need to talk about the catastrophically embarrassing (to EA) server issues that are plaguing players, as everyone else has got those covered. But as of tonight, I’m willing to wait for 19 minutes I do get in, pretty reliably. I look forward to playing around with the game later.
Yeah, I know, I schlepped around Atlanta and went to a big meeting and had a big barbecue lunch and flew home and rode my motorcycle home from JFK (and, incidentally, as of today I’m the Mayor of the Port Authority JFK motorcycle parking area on Foursquare), but the thing I did today that really matters is this:
Yes, I’m downloading the new SimCity. I started this shit at 7am and it’ll probably be 11pm before I’m able to start the game. First I had to upgrade my Internet Explorer, then I had to download Origin, which wouldn’t run until I upgraded Windows to SP3 (which I had to do manually because my Windows is too old to do in an automated way), then I tried to launch the game but it initiated an endless self-update. This was about 10am, and I’ve tried the self-update at every point during the day that I’ve been near a decent Internet connection, but none of them have been decent enough to let it complete.
I’m now home and trying again, and the thing is moving faster and is now up to 37%, so I think I’ll probably be able to play before bed. Still, I hope it’s worth all the tsuris.
Jad Mouawad’s extensive business feature on Alaska Airlines in the NYT tells the stirring story of how Alaska Airlines, America’s most reliable airline and one of America’s financially steadiest airlines, has pulled it off. It’s a great read, full of detail (and it made me want to visit Alaska, which I can honestly say is something I’d never taken seriously before).
The most interesting thing about Alaska’s story is how much the company has relied on fundamentals to keep its business strong: technology, people, metrics. It invested early and substantially in satellite navigation technology, in response to the treacherous approaches and difficult weather that Alaska’s pilots have to deal with routinely. It is deeply committed to staff training, with an Arctic certification that takes its pilots six years to complete. And it takes data seriously:
The airline has established 50,000 points of data to improve its on-time performance, from the time bags are loaded and passengers board to when the pilot pushes back from the gate. It also figured out that if it could shave just a minute of taxi time from each flight, it could save 500 minutes, or over eight hours, a day — the equivalent of flying an extra plane daily, said Ben Minicucci, the chief operating officer. If such small efforts allowed the carrier to free up a plane, it could generate $25 million to $30 million in revenue a year.
$30 million isn’t a fortune — that’s less than 1% of the company’s total revenue. But successful businesses with strong margins are built by steady attention to all the levers that are within the company’s control. That’s a lesson that’s worth the attention of any management team, whether they’re building a neighborhood restaurant or a global technology company.
Steve Kornacki’s interview with Newt Gingrich is worth a read, if only because it is a case of a senior Republican statesman (I write that word with a catch in my breath, but in context it’s the right one) admitting that the 2012 election went the way it did because, on the whole, they misread the tea leaves.
I have one quibble, though. Gingrich says that “in many ways identity politics beat economic politics,” and I think that formulation is awfully generous to the GOP. Even if you accept the substance of it (which I’m not sure I do), the issue wasn’t identity politics but the rejection of the negative identity politics of a party built around fear of otherness.
It’s hard to look at the situation and say that “identity politics” played a bigger role for the Democrats in 2012 than in 2008. But on the GOP side, Romney’s whole campaign was just a big ol’ not-too-deeply-coded appeal to identity politics — and he was among the least fanatic of the bunch.