Wednesday, September 08, 2010
NBN - What it is Really About
I've been following the debate over recent months about the NBN in Australia, and to be quite frank have found people have a fair bit of misunderstanding about what it means to this country. Arguments for and against seem to blur the real benefit that the NBN will deliver.
To attempt to bring this focus back on track for me at least, I plan on taking a little tour of the average Australian house, and the services that are provided.
- ELECTRICITY - Electricity powers almost everything in our house, the washing machine, television, air conditioning, heaters, recharges batteries, soon may even power our cars. It even powers the computer I'm creating this blog entry on. Electricity certainly makes our lives interesting.
- WATER - Can you believe it, it is amazing - we can turn on a tap and water appears IN OUR HOUSE. Kings and Queens of old had water brought to them in buckets - yet we just turn on the tap and wash, drink or water the plants. In Australia, we have of course started to think responsibly about water use, but it is still a miracle.
- COPPER - Nearing the end of their usefulness, our land lines have created over the last century a world so interconnected that it has shrunk the world to nothing. The copper providing these telephones has been stretched to breaking point to delivery not just phone services, but a shaky but amazing connection via data to the world.
Think about these services that you have taken for granted probably since you were born. How do we talk about these services, we talk about them (for the most part) as essential to our very existence.
I'm going to add a fifth one now, one more recently accessed - and attach to it, how it is currently seen by many people.
- INTERNET - Download music, download movies, download websites, download pictures, download the news. Be careful not to download too much, in case you run out of Megabytes - and sometimes it is slow because of the low Megabits/second. My router needs a fair bit of fiddling to get it working sometimes, and frequently I have to change the line settings with my ISP to avoid drop outs. When it rains, the speed slows. I have to choose between ADSL, ADSL2+, ADSL Annex M, Cable, Satellite or 3G or sometimes dialup. Depending on which I use, I need different plugs, adapters and I ... <well you get the idea>
I admit, I exaggerated a bit - very few people go through all of those at the same time, but for the general populace - all of that is frequently encountered by someone on a daily basis. In essence the INTERNET is well, immature.
Well, now to share some well kept secrets. There was a time before electricity, home delivered water and copper to the house - when immature systems existed, incompatible systems - systems to choose amoungst. For example, originally you could choose between AC and DC electricity (in the US), in some places in the world you buy your appliances without a plug, and get a plug attached depending on how your electricity is wired.
The key thing here is - that at some point in time within Australia, infrastructure was laid out country wide at great expense to provide these services. These services were not as pervasive then as they are now - but because of that investment, they became pervasive and incredibly useful. Electricity was originally just for powering lights and copper wires for telegraph.
Now comes the big NBN discussion - and the FIRST key point of this blog relates to how we THINK about our services.
People are thinking of the NBN as access to lots of downloads on the Internet, FAST BIG FAT INTERNET. Well, they are wrong. NBN is about far more than that.
Saying the NBN is about fast Internet, is like saying Electricity is about powering your lights.
That's right, people who think of the NBN as being a way of getting those downloads quicker, are thinking EXACTLY as people almost a century ago were - when they thought of Electricity as being about powering your lights.
Why do we need an electricity network just to power our lights brighter - gas powered lights work just fine.
The SECOND key point of this blog relates to how we TALK about our services.
People are talking about there internet in terms of Gigabits/second and Gigabytes/month, that's like talking about your electricity in terms of ohms, volts and amps.
The NBN will have arrived when we hear people talking about the things it does, rather than how it does them.
The NBN in an important infrastructure project - far more important than giving people more downloads, or faster pings. Remote medicine, video conferencing, tele-presence, telephony, Internet. I can't even imagine what it will be used for - just like the people almost 100 years ago couldn't see electricity as more than lighting.
Don't expect to try and guess what these services will be, but be sure - they will be. The fourth service will not be INTERNET - ill will be called CONNECTIVITY.
I prefer to call it - the ACS, "AUSTRALIAN CONNECTIVITY SYSTEM" - maybe then, after we divorce ourselves from terms that remind us too much of where we have been - and suggest to us where we should go - only then will people see past the limits of the past and view the prospects of the future.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
You probably have hundreds of passwords by now, for Facebook, Twitter, your social club, bank and who knows what else. You are told to use secure passwords for all of these, and you are also told to never use the same password on more than one site. Well, we all know this is just impossible to achieve.
I just started up a website http://www.passwordsquares.com/ to assist in solving this problem. If you think you can help me out, contact me.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
World of Warcraft - this is me
So, I'm pondering as a present for me getting full time work again - buying a $129 World of Warcraft model of my in game character. He is named Schwarzkopf, he is a mean ugly gnome mage - but I think he might look good on the shelf.
Judge for your self:
Saturday, March 27, 2010
After several years of irregular updates, I've decided to move all my content to a blog system. Thingamablog 1.5.1 being the light weight blog of choice.
Some of the blog entries have estimated times and dates on them, as the original dates have been lost in the mysts of time.
In the mean time, www.craznar.com is redirected to these blogs.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Singles Scoring System for Bridge
The following scoring system was designed to add flavour to our social bridge nights. Instead of having our two teams for the night, we decided to have a system allowing each player to cycle through all partners.
This scoring system is based upon a normal rubber bridge scoring system (i.e. 2 or 3 games per rubber, points for rubber and points above and below the line). However there is some differences.
Playing the Game
Assuming there is four players for the social game, pick one who is the scorer (player S), in addition there is three other players - (player A, player B and player C).
You will be playing a number of rounds, a round consisting of 3 games (SA vs BC, SB vs AC and SC vs AB). You can play any number of rounds, however partial rounds will end up biasing the score at the end of the evening.
Play for a round is as follows:
Each rubber involves two players (other than the Scorer) swapping position. Be careful (if you pre-deal hands) that hands are not looked at if the results of a Rubber are about to be determined.
Scoring the Rubbers
Each rubber is scored as per normal rubber bridge, with the following changes:
- Below the line scores for normal, undoubled (vulnerable or not) contracts are entered as normally - a total of 100 below the line consists of a game.
- Below the line scores for doubled or redoubled (vulnerable or not) contracs are entered with the total portion below the line, however in addition the doubled and/or redoubled excess is also scored above the line. (e.g. 2H doubled, making scores 120 below the line - and 60 above the line). A total of 100 below the line consists of a game.
- Above the line scores - all above the line scores are placed against the contract player. Over tricks etc are entered as normal positive amounts, under tricks etc are entered as negative amounts. Doubled, redoubled and vulnerable calculations are as per normal rubber bridge rules (for overtricks, undertricks and contract worth).
- There is no random scores above or below the line, that is no points for honours (small or large), no points for 'the insult' on winning a doubled contract.
- In essence the above the line total reflects the excess or otherwise of the current team for the duration of that game. No points (positive or negative) are entered into the defending team's above the line totals.
- There is a 1000 point cap on positive totals - exceding this is classed as 'going out the front door'.
- There is a -1000 point cap on negative totals - exceding this is classed as 'going out the back door'.
The Solo Scoring System
The solo scoring system awards points to each player based upon the results of each of their rubbers.
|1||For a small slam (contract of 6) in any rubber in which the bidders of the slam did NOT win the rubber.|
|2||For the team winning a rubber two games to one (the old 500 rubber)|
|3||For a large slam (contract of 7) in any rubber in which the bidders of the slam did NOT win the rubber|
|4||For the team winning a rubber two games to zero (the old 700 rubber)|
|5||For a small slam (contract of 6) in any rubber in which the bidders of the slam DID win the rubber|
|6||For the team winning a rubber when their opponents 'go out the back door' or they themselves 'go out the front door', Even if doing so would cause a two to one or two to nil victory.|
|7||For a large slam (contract of 7) in any rubber in which the bidders of the slam DID win the rubber|
All points for slams accumulate - and it is possible for one team to get two slam scores, and the other team to get one. Remember however, the team winning the rubber gets the bonus level points for all their slams.
Each player accumulates points on his own tally over the course of the round, and rounds of play.
At the end of the round (or rounds) tally up the total for each player. The winner is that player with the highest score.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Passwords By Design
If you are like me, you find it a pain to remember passwords for a variety of systems of all types. And storing them in a password manager just puts your entire life in the hands of some memory key, and limit yourself to accessing your accounts from computers with the password manager software.
This system isn't perfect, but it does allow for a reasonable level of security. If in doubt (especially for any critical system - use a randomly generated high secure password)
Well, the system I've been using has three components:
- A part that you easily remember
- A part that is related to the website you are logging in.
- A part you can work out easily.
It also assumes that you can divide your accounts into four basic types:
- Trash - systems you log onto just to get registered for some trivial reason (My world of warcraft guild site for example).
- Low - Forums etc where you log on to discuss things (for me - http://www.whirlpool.net.au is an example)
- High - Anything which can cost you real time, money or inconvenience (Your internet access password, email passwords, software purchasing sites)
- Critical - Reserved for anything which allows access to your money (Banks, Insurance, Tax etc)
The aim is - you are not going to remember a password, you are going to create one on the fly.
First - think of 4 things you can remember, one for each security level. The more secure the thing is, the more complex and unknown it should be.
Step 1 - 'EASY TO REMEMBER'
For example, If I choose to use words (you can use what ever you want):
My 'Trash' word might be 'Rubbish' - easy to remember, and I associate it with my trash.
My 'Low' word might be 'Joeseph' - my middle name.
My 'High' word might be 'Frank.Sinatra' - my favourite singer, with a dot to separate the names.
My 'Critical' word might be 'Jan1962Nancy' - the birth year month and name of a child.
These words don't have to change too often, so make them things you can remember - just four things.
Step 2 - 'RELATED to the SITE'
Think of a part of the website which you can use as a key to that site. Something on the website itself can be used, for example:
The first 5 consonants from website (e.g. Whrlp - whirlpool, Cnn - CNN.COM, Slshd (slashdot)
The year you joined
Either way, make this a consistant across all sites - so it's easy to remember. Can be as bizarre as you want - you only have to remember it once.
Step 3 - 'WORK OUT EASILY'
Think of a trick you can use to modify the two components into a single password - again, make it as bizarre as you want - you only have to remember it once. For example:
Interleave the characters
Change 0s to o, 1s to i etc
Append the words with an @ inbetween and # at the start.
I use http://www.whirlpool.net.au to cause heartburn and distress to a large number of fellow users discuss issues related to broadband, here is an example of creating a password:
My Low word is 'Joseph'
My Related word is 'Pool'
My Work out is 'change o to @ and interleave the letters and add a # at the start.
My Whirlpool password is #JP@@s@elph
This is a total of 6 things I have to remember to remember hundreds of passwords.
Of course, this is to address trivial passwords - anyone who is using superior methods - stick with them. The aim of this page is to assist people with password generation with more security bang per mental buck.
Update: I am working on a simpler and far more secure password system called Password Squares, keep your eyes peeled (27th March 2010)
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Whirlpool.net.au - The Statistics of Aura
Well, I finally decided - mainly because I like statistics and data analysis as well as studying language and human interaction to do some analysis of the new Aura system on the Broadband community site.
I also figured, that it would be my chance to show how screwed the system was.
Well in a word... I was wrong, the system is far from all pervasive and you really need to make an impact to alter it. Whilst doing the analysis, I came up with some interesting observations.
Out of the sample of over 30,000 user ids, the majority of users are just Plain Regulars or Participants.
|In the penalty box||1.57%|
|I'm new here, please be nice||3.88%|
|Whirlpool Forums Addict||0.87%|
In addition, the all pervasive Aura which has brought much critisicm (including from me), is a small speck of impact on the whole. The following demonstrates how few members are affected.
Notice that 95% of Whirlpool is entirely unnaffected by Aura, and 98% are not 'adversely' affected by Aura. Not also the larger slice that 'Low' has got due to the politically correct dropping of the 'Dark' and 'Dim' Auras.
The following further divides those members with Aura by the 'strength' of the vote. It seems that whilst it is easy to annoy a few people, it's a pure talent (a talent I have it seems), to annoy enough people to actually become pervasively anything. Notice also that the easy at which you move from Tentative, through Normal to Pervasive seems somewhat independent of the aura you are on.
I thought it would also be a bit of fun to see where the boorish brutes live, and where the enlightened few live. Well, it's official, Darwin is the home of the lowest over all Aura, and the city with the highest proportion of Low aura people. Canberra has the highest overall aura, but Perth boasts the highest proportion of very enlightened persons. This table includes only persons with a valid aura (not Indeterminate).
The final bit of statistics for now debunks the long held belief that people with high post counts, generate low auras. Well, I analysed the posts/day for all the persons with a valid aura (not indeterminite), and low and behold .... it isn't how much you say, it's what you say. The values are calculated based on the number of posts divided by the number of days from joining to last activity (the best I could come up with).
The following graph (added 27th September 2006), has a little bit of a disturbing future in its lines:
The information is a little busy, but fundamentally the red lines (and red axis) are numbers of members and the green lines are average durations of a members stay (before they leave for the long run). Now obviously, as the graph gets to the end, distinguishing between members that have left for good, and those away for a month is somewhat difficult. However, the over all trend is that Whirlpool is becoming less of a community and more of a news site (like news.com etc). The red lines demonstrate this significantly, whilst more and more people are joining, more and more of them are joining for very short durations and moving on. The rest of the graph, I'll leave for your digestion.
If there is any more information, or particular stats you would like to see, e-mail me by clicking on the contact me button up top, I will be adding to this page as time goes on (there is another 10 or more graphs/tables I have in the pipeline).
Sunday, May 07, 2006
The Waste of the Human Mind
Welcome to my Nightmare
I figure that my first entry should introduce me, explain a little about my self - and really try and make you understand my motivations for this blog.
I was born in Bathurst, Australia (home of that big car race) - and moved various places around the east coast until I ended up in Brisbane, Australia (where I am now).
I've done school, university, been married, been divorced, worked in government, education and in private enterprise. I've done large projects, small project, Windows projects, Unix projects, programmed, administered, planned, designed, analysed and basically touched on every feild of computing.
To be honest - the IT industry today is fast become the new accountancy.
So I'm branching out - whilst still earning money in the field of computers, developing my own websites, I've decided to branch out into something that is actually important.
I've started photography, an interest in films - and an interest in changing the world.
'Change the world' I hear you mutter, yes - at the spritely age of 43 - I've decided to introduce some of my radical conservative ideas onto the world.
Whilst the world has become obsessed with absolutes, Republican or Democrat, Right or Wrong, Legal or Illegal, Moslem or Christian, Black or White - my posts here will be about solutions to some of these problems.
Now - I realise that these thoughts and aspirations will probably be ignored, rarely viewed - but maybe they will be googled and in 50 years someone might say, why don't we do what this guy said to do 50 years ago.
Anyway - my first real entry, coming up soon - will be about issues with the current system of invention and patent, and a way I have worked out to solve it - and what I'm doing about it.
This blog was intially written in three parts (February 5th 2006 to May 7th 2006)
I've learnt something from 20 years out in the wild of commercial and government enterprise, and it's that human beings - like old computers - are discarded at an alarming rate. I don't mean sacked, or made redundant, I mean thrown on the dust heap with the used papers.
I'm not about to rant about this, rather to explain to you my thoughts on how people work and why success is not guaranteed in this world of ours.
The Elements of Success
Listen to your average Dr Phil, or Oprah Winfrey show and you might thing that the only thing that stands in the way of you and success is your own willpower. Well they are absolutely wrong, and are just soundbytes telling us what we want to hear.
How often does a fortune teller say you are going to die ? Never. Dr Phil and Oprah are not about to tell us bad things, they will lose viewers.
There is in fact, three elements of success:
- Yourself : Yes a large part is yourself (so Dr Phil wasn't totally out)
- Other People : You need other people - success doesn't come alone
- Environment : You need an environment allowing success, including money, education
If anyone thinks a starving child in Ethiopia just needs willpower to become the boss of a large software corporation - has more than a screw loose. The simple fact is, that everyone depends on those three things to gain success.
Look at acceptance speeches by famous actors, biographies of large company CEOs - all of them had a stroke of luck, which they took advantage of and friends and family to depend on at the start.
What Dr Phil and his cohorts really should be saying, is that you can't get anywhere unless you want to - because that is true.
Elements of Yourself
I want to concentrate of the individual for a moment.
Have you ever wondered what drives you, how you do things and why you may seem less than someone else. Well the good news guys is that it is all an illusion, everyone has something to offer - the problem isn't with you.
Here is why.
People have three driving forces in what they do:
- Thinking - How well you think, this is your ideas and creativity and working things out
- Wanting - What you want that you don't have, what you would really like to do
- Doing - What you are really good at doing, your skills and abilities.
In case you are lost, I'm going to get personal here and tell you some of my driving forces in each of these three areas.
- Thinking - I've got a complete novel in my head called 'Craznar Millenium' which I thought of in 1987, it's still in my head and not on paper. I've also worked out a mechanism to allow computer understanding of western type languages.
- Wanting - I really want to be a film director, I'd just love to be a film director
- Doing - I'm a very good system analyst and computer systems developer.
Ok, you might ask - why isn't my novel written - and why aren't I a film director. And why am I still doing what I am good at. Well that is the question.
That, and the reason why this is such a loss to the individual and to society I'm covering in my next blog.
So, we have established that success relies on a person, other people and their environment and a person's responsibility for success is their thoughts, wishes and skills.
Now that this is established, I'm going to simplify it a little.
The Elements of Success
- Idea (what you think, your imagination)
- Will (what you really want to do)
- Ability (what are good at)
- Resourcing (things or people you need)
This basically puts everything in one basket from the previous entry.
Now - no matter who you are, or what you intend to achieve - all of these components are required. If you are missing some of them, you need to fill them in with other people (friends, employees etc) by getting them to do it, or getting them to teach you to do it.
As a hint ... other people can generally only provide extra ability ... the idea and will normally need to be yours.
Only once all those components are in place are you going to succeed.
Accept Your Failure and Move On
The important thing you have to remember, is that accepting failure is a positive movement towards future success. Ignoring or forgetting failure and you are doomed to repeat. Dwelling in failure and you are doomed to stagnate.
So when all the soundbyte regurgitators tell you that failure is a negative thing, and then tell you that it's your fault that you failed - change channels.
Describing My Failure - The Novel
I'm going to go through the details of a large failure to succeed in my life, and follow through the reasons for the failure.
I have a complete short story in my head, from start to finish - all the characters, places and events. It's called "Craznar Millenium" and it popped into my head in 1987.
After almost 20 years - it's still in my head, it's not a novel, not a movie - no one will ever read it.
Well, I had the idea - it's a very good idea, it would make a great movie even. I can imagine Peter Woodward as the leading actor. The idea wasn't the problem.
I can tell you right now, that initially I had the will to make a book, or a movie out of it. The willpower initially wasn't a problem, however it eventually waned.
The third requirement. Skill. Well - I am a hopeless writer, I did courses and could never understand why I couldn't write. Then I was diagnosed with Alexathymia and that's why I couldn't write (apart from technicals documents).
So I hunted around for other people to fill in the gaps in my abiity, but of course no one is interested. They were not interested because they didn't have the will to do it, nor did I have the money to pay them.
So, in short form - I failed because of my lack of talent, the lack of resources to continue it and after 18 years the loss of the will to proceed with it.
Was it my fault - no. Was it someone elses fault - no. It was noones fault, it just was. Just as it is noones fault that gravity pulls objects to the ground.
Where to Go After Failure
A few things to do after failure.
- Firstly - don't blame yourself, don't blame anyone and don't blame the universe. Blame is a negative thing that reenforces future failure. If you blame yourself, you will be more likely to lake the will in your next endevour. The more you blame others - the more you will depend on others for the parts you can provide. And if you blame the universe, you are likely to hide in a box or jump off a bridge.
- Secondly - look at why you failed, realisticaly - look at the components. Was your idea silly (like taking a trip to the moon), did you really have the will to do it (the olympic games needs ALOT of will), and did you have the ability to do it, or other people to do it ?
- Lastly - very quickly start anew, very quickly find another idea ... get stuck into something again - quickly.
Why does this matter ? Why is it important to society, to the people in it and more in the next blogs.
We have established the three personal components of success (idea, will and ability) and the external requirements of resourcing.
I have given some ideas on how this affects the individual, and why it's important to know.
Well that's not where it stops. Why should the world care about a bunch of failures that have added nothing to society.
The Resource Wasted
Society goes to great lengths to extract minerals from the ground, to farm plants and animals in the most efficient way possible.
That same society creates incredible lengths to build amazing structures, devices and systems - each created with efficient use of the resources at hand.
Then why is it that over half the world's population can barely feed itself, and 99% of the rest sit mindlessly in front of the Television watching reality TV.
No, it's not because people love being hungry, or bored, or lonely. It's not because they want to be like that ... it's because society as it stands drains hope, drains will and leads people to death and starvation of either body or mind.
The ideas and skills, both developed and never realised of 99% of the world's population - thrown away, wasted.
All because of some mistaken idea that people are soley responsible for their own destiny. What an arrogant point of view that is, that sort of delusion belongs in the 15th Century when we thought the earth was the centre of the universe, and that praying would solve any ill.
The truth of the matter is that society as a whole is both responsible for, and the largest loser of the individualist approach to the human resource.
Individualism Gone Wrong
When a person is successful, they seem to think it was all their own doing and immediately assume other's that fail do so through their own action or inaction.
The mass media is full of people like this, who spread the word that failure is unwelcome, and discard those who can't contribute.
Individual rights were meant to protect those from people with more power, but recently it is being used to attack those same people.
The attacks come directly in the form of speakers telling us we have failed, or indirectly via reality TV shows which glue you to your chair to get some small taste of that success so often denied.
There is a solution, it's not complex and it will benefit individuals and society as a whole. It will benefit large corporations and their profits, and eventually (I hope) benefit those in physical stagnation as well.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Traffic vs Data Tutorial
Traffic vs Data Tutorial
Think of the internet as a road carrying cargo, vehicles are ‘packets’ and the cargo is your ‘data’. The entire group of vehicles and packets is ‘traffic’.
Some vehicles like the semi-trailer carry large amounts of data, with a small percentage overhead, others like the small truck carry little data with a larger percentage overhead. Yet others like the police car carry no data – and are there for special purposes.
Most traffic metering systems will measure the traffic that passes through the system, others (especially proxies and mirrors) will measure the cargo. This is why sometimes the two systems can have vastly different values.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Multi Player Chess
An identical chess set is required for each player involved, for tournament games each chess set should be numbered and each chess piece should be labeled underneath with its originating set.
For the purposes of this description, 4 players (A,B,C,D) and 4 chess sets (1,2,3,4) will be used - however any number of players/sets 3 or more can be used.
Set up each of the four players playing white versus 1 player and black versus another player as in the diagram (the rectangles represent playing colours).
If clocks are used set up the four clocks with TWICE the normal playing time (e.g. if your players normally play 30minute clocks - set the clocks to 1 hour.).
Each player plays according to the normal rules of chess (with exceptions noted below) versus two players simultaneously (one game as white the other as black).
Each player keeps all pieces captured in a stockpile for further use (see below).
The moment any player calls checkmate against a player, all games are temporarily halted, the player who has just lost is eliminated from the circle including his stockpiles and the board the losing game was played on. The circle is then closed in - the game still in play by the eliminated player is taken over by the winner of the just lost game ( in the diagram if B lost his game against A, B is eliminated along with his stockpile - then A commences playing of the game which was being played B vs C. A brings his stockpile into that game).
If multiple players calls checkmate simultaneously, then the above process is repeated for each player.
The winner is player remaining after all other players have lost one game.
If all remaining players call checkmate simultaneously the result is a draw between all players.
Each player keeps white and black pieces taken from both games in a stockpile. The stockpile is used to restock your board with pieces. For example if B captures a knight from C in that game, B can use that knight to re-enforce his position in the game B is playing against A.
Pieces can only be placed on the board in their starting position.
The King cannot be stockpiled.
A piece cannot be placed on a board to counter a checkmate, however it can be used to counter a check.
A piece from a given board cannot be replaced on that board, that is a rook from board 1 that moves around the board to be in the stockpile of a player on board 1 is removed from the game (for simplicity of setup this rule can be ignored in social games).
A piece cannot be placed in such a way as to introduce an illegal situation, although they can be placed in such a way to achieve what appears to be an 'unachievable' situation.
A piece newly placed onto a board is considered to have NOT moved for the purpose of castling and initial pawn move and any other rule that assumes a piece has not moved.
4. Rule Variations
A stalemate can only occur when stalemate conditions are met for both of a players games. In that case that player is considered to have lost ONE of the games (the losing players choice). At the moment stalemate conditions are met for both a players games, proceed as if checkmate had been called on the game of the players choice.
'Queening' a pawn can only be done using your stockpile, the pawn is removed from the game (does not enter a stockpile) and the player can place the new piece at any legal position on the board (not just in its starting position). This piece is considered to have moved for the purposed of castling etc.
Queening a pawn into another pawn is not allowed.
Strategies are a little different depending on if there is an odd or even number of players. With an odd number of players it can be of benefit to sacrifice to one player to improve your place in the other. With even number of players it is generally best to play to win on both boards.
The important thing to remember is you only have to lose on ONE of the two boards to lose the whole game, so be careful with your stockpile, and think about how one of your opponents can help you on the other board.