In a graphical user interface between humans and computers, the focus is the portion of the screen currently active. If you type, the keystrokes are placed in the portion of the screen where the focus exists. Focus typically follows mouse clicks and mouse movement, although this is not always true.

In Shadowrun, a focus is a magical item that is used by a mage or shaman to increase their capacities. They come in a number of flavors- Spell foci provide extra dice for casting and drain resistance, Spirit foci assist with conjuring a specific class of elemental or nature spirit, weapon foci are hand-held weapons that are effective against creatures resistant to them, and power foci allow a magician to throw stronger spells and do more with magic in general. They are bonded to the magician who paid the karma for them, and thus only that magician will be able to use them for their power.

In Mage the Ascension, foci are (usually mundane) tools that assist a willworker in his goals. While they are used by both members of the Traditions and members of the Technocracy, their nature varies greatly depending on how the mage was taught; foci from the Traditions can be anything from carving runes into one's arm (Verbena practice) to a pair of dice (Euthanatos and Hollow Ones) to a clockwork organism roaming the virtual world (Sons of Ether and Virtual Adepts). Technocracy willworkers tend to use more technological foci- holding and pointing a plasma weapon at a reality deviant, cybernetic implants granting inhuman strength, rebonded nanites restitching flesh on the cellular level, and more. What gives the mages of the Traditions an advantage is that they ultimately begin to realize that it is THEY who are responsible for magic, and the tools are just that- tools. Technocrats cannot afford to realize this, and as such, they are forever bound in their magic to things of the flesh.
British auto magazine "Auto Express" reports that a new Focus RS version is soon to be unveiled by Ford at the Geneva Motor Show:

MSRP estimated at 26,000 UKP.

Focus is a fantastic strategy board game for two players. All you need is a checkerboard and sixteen checkers of each color that can stack on top of one another; any good checkers set will have enough extra pieces to play the game.

Setting Up The Board
Set up the board as follows, with one side being black and the other being red, as this is the color scheme of many chess sets. A C represents a single checker.

              black
|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
| C | C | C | C | C | C | C | C |
|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
| C | C | C | C | C | C | C | C |
|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
| C | C | C | C | C | C | C | C |
|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
| C | C | C | C | C | C | C | C |
|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
               red

Playing The Game
A turn consists of moving a single piece, and the players alternate turns, much like in checkers, chess, go, or shogi. The goal of the game is to control or have captured every piece on the board.

You do this through stacking, which means if you move your piece onto a square where there is another piece (whether your own or your opponent's piece), you place your checker on top of the other checker, making a "stack." You can also think of it in this way: each player starts the game with sixteen stacks of size one.

You can move a stack one square in any direction, horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. However, if a stack is two checkers high, you may make two moves with it; if it is three high, you may make three moves with it, and so forth. It should be noted that combinations are allowed; if you move a stack of size one on top of another stack of size one, then it gets another move that turn. It is this "combination" factor that adds a great deal of fun to the game.

When a stack reaches a height of more than five, the bottom pieces are removed from the game (i.e., captured) until the stack is five high. This is simply to prevent the inevitable conclusion of one piece being able to swallow all the pieces on the board roughly fifteen moves into the game.

The game is won when one player controls all of the stacks on the board. In the case of a stalemate, the winner is determined by the person who has the fewest pieces removed from the game. A stalemate happens when nothing is captured for twenty turns, which happens somewhat often in the late game. When players first start to gain some skill at the game (intermediate level players), there are usually a lot of stalemates, but stalemates are much more rare in games with advanced players.

Strategy
The most important fundamental strategy is to keep your pieces spread apart in the early game. A strong opening combination move often spells death for the novice player, so when you advance your pieces across the board, don't advance them in clumps. I usually advance four to five pieces, depending somewhat on what my opponent is up to, in the early game.

Also, watch carefully for any combination moves. You'll soon realize that combos often swing the balance of power on the board, so don't be afraid to sacrifice a small stack to set up a major combination capture.

Another important aspect is to carefully consider what stacks to capture in terms of the pieces. Ideally, you want to control stacks made mostly of your opponents' pieces; combining your own stacks might be useful for moving your own pieces about, but you're really playing with fire. Your opponent can make you pay dearly for such things if you're not careful.

Comments
This game is very elegant, much like the best abstract strategic board games are (like chess, Twixt, go, checkers, and shogi). The simple rules disguise a surprisingly deep strategic contest, which is the sign of a very good game.

This game was taught to me by an old friend, and we play it regularly whenever we see one another. It's a pleasant thinking game for a cold winter afternoon, sitting in front of a checkerboard with a warm cup of cider and a friend or two.

Focus is a progressive rock band from the Netherlands whose music is almost entirely instrumental. Many people attribute this to the "Jethro Tull" sound of their singing. They were one of the first bands who brought instrumental progressive rock to the AM radio band with their 1971 hit "Hocus Pocus."

Guitarist: Jan Akkerman
Flautist/Keyboardist/Vocalist: Thijs Van Leer
Drummer: Pierre Van Der Linden
Bassist: they came and went like the wind with a frequency of one album

Their music was influenced by classical, jazz, and rock. The song "Hocus Pocus" was the first American hit for the band, but, unfortunately for them it would also become somewhat of a signature song. Focus was unhappy with this because their music was about much more than "Hocus Pocus" could hope to show.

Discography

  • In And Out Of Focus (1970)

  • Moving Waves (1971)

  • Focus 3 (1972)

  • Live At The Rainbow (1973)

  • Hamburger Concerto (1974)

  • Ship Of Memories (1974)

  • Mother Focus (1975)

  • Focus Con Proby (1978)
  • On a personal note, check them out if you can find any of their music, either in stores or *cough* P2P *cough*. One day I will try to node the lyrics to "Hocus Pocus" . . . one day.

    Focus.
    Focus.
    Focus.

    And really, is there anything harder?

    Raw talent is an incredible thing. It empowers us to realize that we are capable of special things that other mortals are not. There are those with the capacity for scientific ingenuity. Some are capable of great artistic undertakings. Others may be able to solve problems that have confounded the world for generations. Yet only a choice few make it beyond the stage of raw talent and bring their special skills and abilities to the forefront of our collective reality.

    WHY?
    Focus.

    It is relatively easy to lose focus. It is relatively easy to be distracted by pigeons gathering at a fountain. To sit and pull tendrils of thought out of your mind and give them a concrete essence is tough. Cleaning the house is easier. Taking your car to the bikini car wash and oogling the sorority girls is much more entertaining. Taking a job assembling boxes at a local factory and drinking a twelve pack at the saloon following each shift is an easier way to put life's station wagon on cruise control until you reach your exit ramp.

    Focus
    Come on now and
    Focus
    Bring it all down
    Focus
    Don't fear the setting sun
    Focus
    Thy will be done
    Focus
    Find out who you really are
    Focus
    Join your hands with your mind
    And Focus

    Different people have different standards of success. When your personal standard is above the norm and you know you have the tools to reach a higher plateau, that is when you need to find your focus. Thousands of thoughts are racing through your head at this very moment. You find it difficult to catalog and contain them. This keeps you from focusing on that which you wish to focus. Stray thoughts bump in and dance around. These are the thoughts that make you want to go to the all nude car wash. These are the thoughts that make you want to buy a bottle of Scotch and sit on a park bench talking to pigeons.

    Later that same evening...
    ...he cursed himself for wasting time

    Some things are more fulfilling when done on a lark. Other things are more interesting when they don't conform to the regular streets and avenues of our best intentions. It isn't that much different from the days when you poured over your textbooks while watching the other kids sledding down Damnation Hill. Many of us live in a world where immediate gratification is promoted as the "way to go." You can get credit for doing a three minute project on the job. You might get more credit for a six week long project, but there is always the chance it won't work out that way. So, we lose focus in order to leap up and get the cookie grandma is holding out to us.

    If you want to get drunk
    Cheap cans of beer are an easier route...
    than collecting vintage French wines.

    There is almost always something that you are better at than the average streetwalker, just as there is always something she is better at than you (don't spend too much time analyzing this statement). The first step to focus is realizing what that special something is. Collecting garbage can be an art form, just as much as painting the ceiling of a random cathedral in Europe. It all depends on your perspective. The focus is not necessarily on finding what will make you world renown and get you invited to awards ceremonies. The focus may just be on finding your niche in life and taking that niche to its fullest potential. The main reason no one considers garbage collectors to be artists is that none of them have done it with any observable flair... or if they have no one has really given a crap.

    No one said I'm special.
    But I guess I kinda am.

    Focus means checking your paperwork before taking the easy way out. Of course, the easiest way out is quitting. Quitters never get to drink gin. Quitters end up living in a little room in the back of their mind called regret. If you can reasonably ascertain that you have the ability for greatness in a given field, then you must find the focus and stay with the focus, because the further you wander off the path of focus, the harder it is to bring it back into focus. Try looking at a random star sometime and then spin the telescope, down three shots of tequila and then try to find the star again. Unless you are some kind of astronomy oriented person who has maps of delineations and that sort of thing (which I know nothing about because my telescope fell out of a third story window when I was eight), then you will see how hard it is to regain focus.

    Note: The lack of focus in this writeup seems ironic.
    On purpose or by accident?
    You decide.

    Whining is the weapon of choice amongst the young and capable who don't see any reason why they should labor for years at their craft in order to attain true recognition. They keep one finger on the "I Quit" button and the rest on the keyboard of automatic excuses. If something doesn't make the cut, it is due to the stupidity of the powers that be, it cannot have anything to do with a lack of experience and focus. Remember all that crap about Rome not being built in a day?

    Guess what.
    Newsflash.
    It wasn't.

    Today's Special Parable: I used to belong to this weird writer's group. Like many it consisted of a bunch of people who thought they were important because they knew how to use four syllable words in sentences. One young lad, who was eighteen years old, had just finished a novel he had worked on for the past year. It had been rejected by a dozen different publishers. He wanted to know why not one of these publishers could recognize the fact that he had written the greatest novel of the modern era. He passed his manuscript around the group and as usual they all muttered "mmm, very nice work" and "I love the way you write." Many warm, unfocused sentiments were tossed his way. He submitted it some more, received more rejections, and then tossed the manuscript in the trash (it was called The Matrix and it was about a computer generated reality within the existing reality, but that isn't really important) and went home and cried. He believed that the world had rejected him in the one thing he felt he had a talent for. He never read the rejection letters, he just glanced over them looking for acceptance. Instead of showing a willingness to grow his talent and focus it, he saw only rejection and failure. For years he stopped writing and for years he cheated himself of expressing his passion. It took him a long time to recover and to focus himself, mostly because the sting of pride made quitting easier than learning to focus. Well, I won't tell you who that eighteen year old fool was. That would be giving myself away.

    Without focus you bounce all over life's radar screen, dropping a little blip there and a little blip here. The emptiness grows, because once you know you have the capacity for something, it hurts to give it up. It isn't much different than losing a true love to the earthquakes of time. The love and the passion stays, even as the pen or the brush or the ideas get pushed aside. You have to learn to focus and to make love to your abilities. Someday I hope to learn, because we never really do. We can only try. Focus is as elusive as a raindrop in the ocean, but passion can make that raindrop into a mighty wave.


    Dedicated to those with talent everywhere
    Who are one step away
    If only they could focus...

    A 2001 movie based on a novel by Arthur Miller. Main Cast:

    Set in an American city during the last few months of World War II, Focus is about a husband and wife who are mistaken for Jews by their anti-Semitic neighbors. The film does an excellent job of showing Lawrence's frustration, as he finds out that 'restricted' now means him. Directed by Neal Slavin.

    Fo"cus (?), n.; pl. E. Focuses (#), L. Foci (#). [L. focus hearth, fireplace; perh. akin to E. bake. Cf. Curfew, Fuel, Fusil the firearm.]

    1. Opt.

    A point in which the rays of light meet, after being reflected or refrcted, and at which the image is formed; as, the focus of a lens or mirror.

    2. (Geom.)

    A point so related to a conic section and certain straight line called the directrix that the ratio of the distace between any point of the curve and the focus to the distance of the same point from the directrix is constant

    .

    ⇒ Thus, in the ellipse FGHKLM, A is the focus and CD the directrix, when the ratios FA:FE, GA:GD, MA:MC, etc., are all equal. So in the hyperbola, A is the focus and CD the directrix when the ratio HA:HK is constant for all points of the curve; and in the parabola, A is the focus and CD the directrix when the ratio BA:BC is constant. In the ellipse this ratio is less than unity, in the parabola equal to unity, and in the hyperbola greater than unity. The ellipse and hyperbola have each two foci, and two corresponding directrixes, and the parabola has one focus and one directrix. In the ellipse the sum of the two lines from any point of the curve to the two foci is constant; that is: AG+GB=AH+HB; and in the hyperbola the difference of the corresponding lines is constant. The diameter which passes through the foci of the ellipse is the major axis. The diameter which being produced passes through the foci of the hyperbola is the transverse axis. The middle point of the major or the transverse axis is the center of the curve. Certain other curves, as the lemniscate and the Cartesian ovals, have points called foci, possessing properties similar to those of the foci of conic sections. In an ellipse, rays of light coming from one focus, and reflected from the curve, proceed in lines directed toward the other; in an hyperbola, in lines directed from the other; in a parabola, rays from the focus, after reflection at the curve, proceed in lines parallel to the axis. Thus rays from A in the ellipse are reflected to B; rays from A in the hyperbola are reflected toward L and M away from B.

    3.

    A central point; a point of concentration

    .

    Aplanatic focus. Opt. See under Aplanatic. -- Conjugate focus Opt., the focus for rays which have a sensible divergence, as from a near object; -- so called because the positions of the object and its image are interchangeable. -- Focus tube Phys., a vacuum tube for Rentgen rays in which the cathode rays are focused upon the anticathode, for intensifying the effect. -- Principal, ∨ Solar, focus Opt., the focus for parallel rays.

     

    © Webster 1913.


    Fo"cus (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Focused (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Focusing.]

    To bring to a focus; to focalize; as, to focus a camera.

    R. Hunt.

     

    © Webster 1913.

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