Mafia Wars: Cuba – New BETA Screenshots

A few weeks ago, I’d been asked to beta test the new levels for the popular Zynga Mafia Wars game. Mafia Wars is arguably the most popular and successful of the social media games developed by the recently Venture Capital funded company Zynga. To date, the 1.5 year old, profitable, VC backed Zynga has raised 39 Million dollars in funding. As Mafia Wars is widely popular, there is bound to be great interest in this new Zynga release.

The story starts as I was about to crash for the night and made the mistake of turning on a computer screen. Imagine my surprise when I noticed a “Fly to Cuba” button on the top of my Facebook Mafia Wars page. In this beta release, there are new jobs hidden till you complete the next level and there are loads of new help topics and weapon descriptions and loot items revealed. I’ve made certain to record as much as I can tonight and you can look forward to finding more information in The Code Cave about this new Mafia Wars module.

My Mafia Wars links:
Be My Friend on Facebook
Join My Mafia
Promote me, [LSM] Capt. Queeg, if it will help you
Send me Black Mail Photos! I need 130 more

However, as I am likely to pass out on the keyboard at any moment, for today, you’ll have to be content with these tall images of the Mafia Wars: Cuba Home page and its first Jobs page. Enjoy:

This is the initial page for Mafia Wars: Cuba. Notice the Shared Mafia Wars Resources.
This is the initial page for Mafia Wars: Cuba. Notice the Shared Mafia Wars Resources.
Mafia Wars: Cuba - Jobs -  El Soldado - The Soldier
Mafia Wars: Cuba - Jobs - El Soldado - The Soldier

2 for 1 Deal for Facebook Mafia Wars

Send me 1 item on my wish list and put a message on my wall asking for any two items from this list and I’ll send them back to you. Make sure to provide a link to your profile or your profile name or I’ll not be able to find you. First Come: First Serve. So you might want to have a backup choice or two. I’ll adjust this page as I run out of stuff.

Of course if you want to do this you’ll need to:
Add me as a Facebook Friend
Join My Mafia
Promote me (I’ll give you at least a 13% bonus depending upon your level if you Promote me as your Bagman)

After less than 2 months of playing, I am a Level 160 Boss Mogul with master on every level up to underboss. I have 11 out of 14 achievements. I currently earn 111mil every 51 minutes. I’ve been leveling up 3 to 4 times every day, though I might hit 5 levels today. With >1000 mafia members, I’m really raking in the experience points just by other ppl using me in fights. So I should reach the max bagman bonus for you pretty quickly.

Here is what I am offering:

Ten of Diamonds
Monkey Sculpture
White Poker Chip

Ebony Cigar
Sky Cigar
Rose Cigar
Ivory Cigar
Turquoise Cigar
Gold Cigar

Eight of Spades
Nine of Spades
Ten of Spades
Jack of Spades
Queen of Spades

Topaz Ring
Opal Ring
Amethyst Ring
Sapphire Ring

Solid Tie
Striped Tie
Checked Tie
Geometric Tie
Dot Tie
Knitted Tie

Warhol Painting
Van Gogh Painting
Dali Painting
Monet Painting
Rembrandt Painting

Silver Cufflinks
Gold Cufflinks
Amber Cufflinks
Jasper Cufflinks
Agate Cufflinks
Onyx Cufflinks
Pearl Cufflinks

Mill Reef
Sea Bird
Golden Miller
St Simon

9mm Semi-Automatic
.22 Pistol
Butterfly Knife
Brass Knuckles
.45 Revolver
Automatic Rifle
Semi-Automatic Shotgun
Tactical Shotgun
.50 Caliber Rifle
RPG Launcher
Grenade Launcher

Stab-Proof Vest
Lucky Shamrock Medallion

Armored Truck
Prop plane

Don’t vote Obama/McCain. Vote former Congressman Bob Barr

Do you remember all the fuss made about Ralph Nader during the last election? Did you know that he hadn’t even make it onto the ballot in all 50 states?!?! 34 isn’t even close, and it’s no wonder people think the two party spiral can’t be broken when someone as gung ho and well known as Nader can’t even make the ballots. ( Read more about ballot access laws )

This year, the landscape is already different. So many people are voting for their candidate because he’s NOT the other one. That the 50 ballot hurdle has already been conquered.

On Aug 1, former Congressman Bob Barr turned in one thousand pages of signatures to the government of the state of West Virginia, to get state #50. (And yes they are still counting and verifying, but even more signatures have been collected since then, making it a pretty sure bet that WV has been won.) That means that he has already collected over 867,134 signatures from backers across the country.

So, now, people like me, who don’t think Obama has the experience required to be a strong independant president or that don’t believe McCain represents the core republican principals he’s asking to represent, now have a real choice.

If you are one of the people that count the cost of a third party vote, as we all should, consider this: what is the cost of continuing in this two party quagmire. If you vote for EITHER Democrat or Republican, you are voting against fixing the ingrown Federal system. How many times have you heard people say “There’s no difference between them. They’re all crooks.” Well, then maybe it is time for those people to do something about it. The two parties are already working to eliminate our choice. For example the debate rules have been changed so that for a candidate to be included in even the first debates, they must have enough ballot access to win and be at 15% or higher in the current polls. So your vote, if nothing else, is buying access.

Here is what I am suggesting. Reserve judgement. Find out what Bob Barr represents. Find out if there are any positions at all of his that you disagree with. This is a good place start: And when asked in polls and surveys, mark that you are considering Bob Barr. It doesn’t mark that as your choice in November. It only says, “I am think this person is a valid candidate and I want to hear what he has to say and I want to be informed of what he has to offer.”

Those are my words on the subject. I recommend you stop hear and go to his site to find out more.
But if now is all the time you have, here is a 1 paragraph quote from his staff:
“Bob Barr spent eight years in Congress as a Representative from Georgia. His intellect and leadership skills were quickly recognized. He rose to prominence as a result of his courageous commitment to principle. Bob Barr was and is a strong defender of your civil rights. He will fight to protect our privacy against “big brother” and he’ll defend our right to keep and use firearms. Bob will cut government spending, and taxes. And, he’ll balance our budget. Bob’s plan to tackle our national energy crisis includes embracing new technologies and conservation – but also, more domestic production and refining. ”

Ball Girl: How to spot a fake

You’ve probably seen this by now and I’ll admit I watched it a few times to help me decide whether or not it was fake or not.  Here, I’ll let you have a go at it to see if you can spot anything,

I keyed in on the obvious, from my perspective.  I’ve never seen  someone as close as the fans were to that ball, not fling themselves out and almost fall onto the field to catch it. 

Those people hardly reached at all and stopped before the ball was really caught.

However the catcher is the clue to this one.  I’ll show you two frames and see if you catch it:


Catch it?  Kudos to the commenters on the original video (reached by clicking the embed above) who caught this.  If you go there you will see that the description of the video is “Baker [Smith] directed these viral spots for Gatorade from ad agency Element 79 and Partners.”  See the half empty Gatorade bottle by her chair at the end?

On Image Use and Death of the Mouse Plus 70

I was involved in an email discussion this morning and once again I realized that I’ve transferred my creative energies from writing new and interesting blog articles over to email discussions and forum posts.  So I’m sharing this with you and will hit post instead of send.  (Oh and btw make sure to save as a draft in Windows Live Writer before pasting from an HTML email.  Some formatting causes WLW to go into an infinite loop.  As a result you have to rewrite your brilliant and concisely worded opening paragraphs again.  And they are just never as good the second or third time through and your daughter will get upset because you told her you would do her swimming lesson at 11am and that is already well passed.)

At b5media, Inc. we no longer allow the use of copyrighted images unless the blogger has obtained permission from the copyright owner or a representative thereof.  The use of copyright images is not something that most Bloggers bother to think about.  If you see a neat wilderness photo you want to share, you post it.  If you see a picture of an actor doing something… unusual, you might just toss it up on your blog.  If you write an article about Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, of course you’ll want a head shot above their name.  If an image is used on another website, it is considered polite to copy the image locally to your account so that you are not stealing bandwidth.  Most people certainly want to respect the rights of a photographer and want photographers to be paid, but those thoughts usually don’t enter our mindset.

Well for a blogging network of well over 300 blogs, image concerns are amplified.  Respecting creative rights and intellectual property is extremely important to us.  Heck, we make our living from IP too.  OK and yes, admittedly the $20K fine for each image in violation of the law could add up to a sum that would leave anyone weak at the knees.  So, liability is of course a concern.  If b5 takes a hit, that could affect the livelihood of hundreds of Bloggers.   So this is matter we take very seriously.  We have to. 

There’s been some discussion by our Bloggers and Channel Editors this morning on the subject of image use and here is my contribution:

COMMON SENSE DISCAIMER: Everything in this email/post is only the personal opinion of a geek and is not said in my capacity as a b5media employee. It may or may not be the opinion of the powers that be in b5media, inc. Therefore, nothing in this email has any relation to b5media, Inc. policies. Anything that you believe says or implies otherwise should be ignored. 

“creator’s date of death plus 70 years”

BTW you can thank Disney for that stupid law. It irks me because it means that rare recordings of things like the Danny Kaye performances I like cannot legally be shared and so they become rarer and rarer parts of collections and eventually parts of our culture are lost. Why should a 65 year old scratchy recording of someone reading a story about an inchworm be unsharable? It’s all so that we don’t send around copies of a horrible black and white cartoon of a poorly drawn mouse driving a steam boat and so that stores on the beachfront in Miami can’t airbrush said mouse onto a shirt (or wait does that happen already?). The law in Austrailia is a generous 50 years and the US is trying to push the Ozz to move to 70 years as well.  We have made other countries do this already. And 70 is just a “Magic Number” anyway and one should always avoid “Magic Numbers”.  (A principle I was taught early on in my coding carreer.) 

Yes this is a hot-button issue for me J


An interesting article on the 2002 case that extended this law.

WikiPedia’s discussion on the various “free license” differences out there. It will be helpful for those put their own pictures on the various hosting services out there. 

The relevant part is here:

For image creators:

If you are the creator of an image, you can choose any acceptable free license. You can multi-license your image under different licenses, if you prefer. The license must not prevent commercial reuse or derivative works.

clip_image001 GNU Free Documentation LicenseGFDL-self – Written by the Free Software Foundation. People are required to attribute the work to you, and if they make changes or incorporate your work in their work, they are required to share their changes or work under the same license.

clip_image001[1] Creative Commons: Attribution-ShareAlike – cc-by-sa-3.0|Attribution details – This is one of several CC licenses. This version permits free use, including commercial use; requires that you be attributed as the creator; and requires that any derivative creator or redistributor of your work use the same license. The desired attribution text should be included as a parameter in the template.

clip_image001[2] Creative Commons: Attribution – cc-by-3.0|Attribution details – Similar to the above, but does not require that derivative works use the same license.

clip_image001[3] Free Art licenseFAL – A copyleft license for artwork; modification and commercial use are allowed, provided derivative works carry the same license.

clip_image001[4] AttributionAttribution – The copyright holder allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed.

clip_image001[5] Copyrighted Free Use – CopyrightedFreeUse-Link|[ Your website] – Same as above, but attribution is not required. However, as a courtesy, you would appreciate a link back to Your website.

clip_image001[6] Public domainPD-self – The creator permanently relinquishes all rights to the work.


NOTE (TO B5 READERS): b5media does not fall into the same business category as Wikipedia. Should you see “fair use” stuff on various Wikipedia pages, just be aware that various points may directly contradict our policy. I personally wouldn’t try to argue using Wikipedia’s “fair use” policy after violating b5media’s image use policies.  That’s why I didn’t like to their policy. ‘nuff said. 😉

Also the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) always has interesting reads (like this ) and advocate changing the laws rather than breaking them. I don’t always agree with what I read there, but it is always interesting.