Monthly Archives: October 2010

Review: Your Dungeon is Suck

Your Dungeon is Suck, is a blog and that is about the only positive thing I can say about it. Basically Mr Yourdungeonissuck makes fun of companies, authors and bloggers who specialize in the Old School Renaissance (OSR) RPG niche, however he does attack gamers in general on a regular basis. I gather from reading his blog, he thinks he is funny and clever, he is neither, I personally find him to be boorish and uninteresting. While he is in his own angry little way, expressive, his skill at writing is technically poor and adolescent in style. As far as I can tell he contributes nothing of value to the discussion of RPG’s.

I am not sure what Mr Yourdungeonissuck’s issue is, but my guess is he is one of the handful of self righteous holier than thou bloggers who received a smack down when TARGA refused to disassociate itself from Zak Smith over his “I Hit It With My Axe” series because his players are strippers and pornstars. If this is the case, he is not handling the rejection of his ideology very well. I suppose it is also possible he is a failed RPG writer himself and is simply venting his anger on those who have acquired some amount of success or respect within the hobby, but I think that would be cliché.


Happy Halloween Everyone, have fun and be safe.

Trick or Treat

Felicia Day is not the most beautiful woman in the world, but she is quirky cute, talented and deserves the attention she is getting on the Internet and from nerdom in general. For those not initiated, she writes, directs and acts in her own web series The Guild. She also did a couple of episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which lead directly to staring in Joss Whedon’s Dr Horrible Sing A-Long. In this picture she is dressed as Codex, the World of Warcraft character played by Cyd Sherman, the character she plays in the Guild. Nothing like a little double immersion role playing to confuse everyone.

Because playing Magic the Gathering is just like this

Comic Con Austin is having a Magic the Gathering Tournament, with a $5000 purse. I use to play a mean game of Magic some years ago, but it has been at least 12 years since I played it seriously. I was being wish washy about joining the tournament, but after seeing this picture I am definitely joining up. The game is certainly more interesting than I remember it being.

strip-mtg

Facebook Theme for WordPress Blogs

I am considering a new theme for my blog. I picked this theme because I liked the calm colors and rounded edges, but some have complained it is difficult to read and hard on the eyes. I have been considering a theme which makes WordPress blogs look more or less like FaceBook. Now I am certainly no fan of the FaceBook look and feel, but I do like how comments are handled, with comments displayed right there under the post along with an editing box, and that feature is not available in a whole lot of themes. A Facebook style theme would also add a level of familarity to my site, which I hope will make people more comfortable.

Have a look at the mock up and tell me what you think.

http://carnifex.game-host.org/blog/

My Computer

Well, amazingly enough I went back to using my old computer full time. The Inspirion 1505 is a solid workhorse machine that seems to have everything in the right place. The Nvidia video chipset makes a huge difference both in rendering nice looking video and just all around good performance. For some reason the Intel chipset of the newer 1545 did not like Linux and did not like my Dell monitor, when I hooked up the 1505 to do some updates I was stunned at how much nicer the display was. So I wiped the drive of the 1545 and put Windows 7 on it, I figure it will be useful as a walking around computer and it plays World of Warcraft decently well, so maybe PezWitch will adopt it since she does not have a laptop right now, or maybe I will sell to one of my friends who needs a cheap laptop. As for me, I will be sticking with the old girl for a while longer. Of course my long term problem is how do I find a new laptop with a decent video chipset.

Rise of the Techno Peasant

Over at Cracked they have an article about how the future will be ruled by bull shit.

http://www.cracked.com/article_18817_5-reasons-future-will-be-ruled-by-b.s..html

The basic idea is everything above the lowest block on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can basically be had online for free. This not only feeds into the “Information wants to be free” mantra of just a few years ago, but also gives evidence of a theory I have been rolling around in my head for the last year or so. I think we are witnessing the birth of a new demographic, we are seeing the rise of the Techno Peasant, people who have little wealth in the real world, but live full, exciting and passionate lives online.

When I examine my life, I discover, I no longer need to buy newspapers or magazines, I don”t have to go to the movie theatre or a movie rental place, heck, I don’t even need cable TV any more. I live over a thousand miles from my family, but I regularly communicate with them and the emotional bump of my fathers death, was for me, played out on Facebook. My best friends are the guys I play HackMaster online with every Friday night. The only significant relationship I have that is not primarily online is my Wife PezWitch. I live the bulk of my life online and even if I lost everything today, as the article said, I could continue that life for the price of a $300 netbook and a $20 a month Internet connection. So yes, for me, everything above that lowest tier on the Maslow chart, is free online or so close to free as it does not really matter.Saturday afternoon softball games and cocktail parties have been replaced by World of Warcraft raids.

Green Lantern the Movie

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I was not very enthusiastic about Ryan Reynolds playing Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. I do not think Reynolds was even close to a good choice, his goof ball persona does not work for me. Now seeing this picture of the Green Lantern Power Battery, all I can say is, Really, is this the best you can do ? I really hope this movie is at least watchable. Green Lantern has been my favorite comic book character for decades. The whole “Born without Fear” thing was very appealing to a small nerd boy who was always afraid of everything. Unfortunately, I have a very bad feeling about how this movie is going to turn out.

Bad ideas: Rocky Horror Picture Show Remake

Let me be completely clear:

A remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, should not, under any fucking circumstance, ever, Ever, EVER, be made !

http://io9.com/5667413/glee-creator-will-remake-the-rocky-horror-picture-show-++-for-real

Post #150

I was bored yesterday afternoon and snapped pictures of the area around my desk. I am sure my co-workers will not appreciate me for posting their pictures, but oh well.

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David, he sits on my left.

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Derek, who sits in the cube behind me.

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Mary, who sits to my right.

Countdown to Comic Con Austin

Comic Con Austin is now less than a month away. The tickets have been purchased, hotel has been booked, vacation time has been approved, all systems are go. It has been way too long since the last time I attended a genre convention. I have wanted to attend a Comic Con for a long time and I can not begin to describe how excited I am. Now if they could just get a GenCon Austin going my life would be complete.

RE: Ubuntu 10.10

After fucking around with trying to downgrade wxPython to 2.8.10 for a couple of hours yesterday, I finally gave up. I wiped out my backup machine and installed Ubuntu 10.04 on her. It was kind of odd, working on that old Inpirion 1505n, I forgot she had an Nvidia graphics chipset and how much nicer Compiz (Desktop Eye Candy) runs on the Nvidia drivers than the stock Xorg drivers, which is what I use for the Intel graphics on my main system. I do not remember feeling my new system was slower than my old system, when I got it. I have been perfectly satisfied with its performance up until I installed Ubuntu 10.10. I think next weekend I will go back to 10.04 and wait for 11.04.

This is the first version of Ubuntu I have been disatisfied with and I think the issue is they were so intent on getting it out on 10/10/10, they let a glaring issue through. I suspect they will fix it in the next few weeks, but that does not aliveate my disappointment. In the future I would appreciate it if quality assuranse took priority over gimicky release dates.

Ubuntu 10.10

I have been using Ubuntu 10.10 for about a week now. There are a couple of annoyances, first the desktop is a bit sluggish and second OpenRPG no longer works. I have no idea why the desktop is being sluggish, my system is not unusable, but it does make me consider going back to 10.04 and waiting a few weeks for 11.04. The problem with OpenRPG is as of 10.10 the default version of wxPython is 2.8.11, OpenRPG needs 2.8.10 or lower. I do not think this is an issue with the version of wxPython, I think this is a matter of crappy programming in OpenRPG. However I doubt there is much I can do to push the developers into fixing the issue, so I think I will have to compile wxPython 2.8.10 myself. Alternately, I could use Virtualbox to install Ubuntu 10.04 just to run OpenRPG.

National Novel Writing Month

On November 1st National Novel Writing Month begins. This is when all the would be writers on the Internet get together and write books. The idea is to write 50,000 words in 30 days and give moral support to others who are attempting the same thing. I have a proposal for anyone who is going to give this a shot this year. What I would like to see is someone do their NaNo online, in public and in blog format. I would love the opportunity to see a book develop in real time and I think this is such a good idea, I will put up the web space for it. I will put up a blog called nano.carnifex.org and I will give you posting and editing rights (sorry no admin rights). If you succeed in writing 50,000 words, I will leave your work of art up until next November when I will clean the board and we will do another, if you fail, I take it down December 1st. Let me know if you are interested.

I am feeling old and tired

I am feeling particularly old this week. Normally I enjoy writing this blog and sharing my enlightenment with everyone, but this week I have not been able to find the energy to write anything of substance. I have started 4 or 5 posts and deleted them because they were boring and overly serious. So here I am following my own blogging advice and writing even if I don’t feel like it. I am forcing myself to write and be as expressive as I can. When doing this type of blog it is important to write because people don’t have time to come and read a blog where there are no posts for days or even weeks on end and eventually they will stop coming. If you have noticed, I make 21 posts per month, this is an nice even pace designed not burn me out, but keep you all coming back regularly.

I am of the opinion anyone can sit down and write 250 words. Heck I think anyone can sit down and write 500 words. The National Novel Writing Month (NaNo), where several thousand people get together online and attempt to individually write 50,000 words in 30 days, kind of supports this. NaNo is something I plan to write about in the next couple of weeks. NaNo is done during November and I have an idea about how some of you creative types should participate this year.

So go forth and blog, even when you feel like crap and blog until your eyes bleed.

here are my 250 words.

My Job

You may have noticed I never (rarely) talk about my job, in fact I have never said who my employer is in a front page post, although I have said so in a couple comments I have made in response to others. I purposely avoid talking about work for a couple reasons. First, I don’t want to become one of those blogs where all they do is bitch about work. My work does not dominate my life and by extension, it should not and does not dominate this blog. Second, I do not really want to be an unpaid marketing arm of my employer either. My employer has a multi billion dollar marketing budget and does not need my help pitching product.

I am pretty much like everyone else, some days I really like my job and some days I really hate it. Regardless of how I feel about my job on any given day, my work is practically the least important thing I do. I work for the sole purpose of financing the rest of my life. The time I spend with my friends online playing HackMaster, the time I spend with PezWitch, even the time I spend petting my cats is all more important than my work. In previous generations, a mans identity was tied to his work and the result of this was men who were detached from thier children, men who died young from stress and men who at the end of thier lives regreted the things they didn’t do. I do not want to be one of those men, I want to live to be 120 and I want to look back at my life without regret, but if I do have regret, I want it to be for things I did instead of the the things I didn’t do.

10/10/10

Happy 10/10/10 day everyone. Was there suppose to be an apocalypse today ?

Canonical is releasing Ubuntu version 10.10 today, I suppose they thought they were being clever. Yesterday I upgraded my main system to 10.10 Beta, figuring it would make the upgrade easier today because there will be only a few files updated and I will not be competing with 30,000 other Ubuntu geeks to get everything downloaded and installed.

In other news, last Friday nights game showed just how radically the game has shifted in its transition from a mid level party into a high level party. During the big fight of the night, the major violence was not committed by the fighters, but rather by the Magic Users. Looking back over the game, it is apparent that Azzy (9th level Wild Mage played by Thor) is possibly the most powerful PC mage ever played in one of our games. The previous holder of that title would probably be either Tithus or Arcanis, both played by Ed back in the 80’s.

Ubuntu One

I have been a big fan of Dropbox for a long time. If you don’t know, Dropbox is a program which backs up your files online and syncs those files with other computers. Dropbox has been kind enough to provide both a Linux version and an iPhone version. They give you 2 GB for free or you can purchase 50 GB or 100 GB packages for $99 or $199 per year respectively. Up until yesterday, the 2 GB free service has worked very adequately for me, except now I have exceeded my 2 GB and it was time to consider the 50 GB service. The problem is 50 GB is a lot of space, I mean seriously, it took me 2 years to fill 2 GB and $99 seems kind of steep since it might be years before I use any significant amount of that space.

I have known for a while that Canonical, the makers of Ubuntu Linux, had their own online file backup and syncing service called Ubuntu One (U1), which they are gearing towards the Linux community. I have always been willing to support Linux endeavors with cash, for instance, when Dell started selling consumer systems with Linux pre-installed, I pulled out my credit card and purchased one, even though, I did not really need a laptop at the time. This seemed like a good opportunity support good ideas and services with the only vote that counts, cash. So I signed up for U1.

U1 also has a free service, allowing you 2 GB of storage space. The pay service is structured incrementally, costing $30 per year for each 20 GB of space you want. This is slightly cheaper than Dropbox and allows me more flexibility. The client did take a bit of work to get up, running and syncing files, but nothing apocalyptic and once I upgraded to the pay service, the 20 GB was made available to me immediately. As a nice bonus, they allowed me to keep the first 2 GB rather than subsuming it in the purchased 20 GB, so I actually get 22GB. Once setup, U1 pretty much works like Dropbox, whatever files I want backed up and synced, I simply move or copy the the U1 folder and the program takes over from there. Another nice little addition, is if I want to, I can sync any file or foler I want without copy or moving it to the U1 folder, I can simply right click on it and choose “Synchronize on Ubuntu One” saving me the trouble of moving files from my familiar locations or having multiple copies on the hard drive.

U1 has 3 additional features which Dropbox does not have, Contact list syncing, Note syncing and a music store similar to iTunes, available through Rhythmbox. Contacts and notes don’t really do anything for me. I already maintain my contact list in Gmail and sync that list between computers and my iPhone, I really have no compelling reason to change this as of right now. Online notes is pretty much a “meh” thing for me, I suppose I might use it someday. The music store however, is interesting. Too often Linux is overlooked for services like this one and there really is no excuse for Apple not to have done a Linux version of  iTunes by now.

U1 does have a couple of annoyances. First there does not seem to be any progress indicator on how far along new files are being synced. Syncing does not start instantaneously and sometimes I had to right click on new files and click on Sync to Ubuntu One, to get the sync process started. As of right now there is no windows clients, however there is one in the works. Also Canonical is currently beta testing mobile apps, including iPhone support, this currently costs $4 per month if you want mobile phone support.  Both of these will probably be fully available long before iTunes for Linux is available. It should also be noted that all these services are available via a web browser, so technically they are available on any platform with a decent browser.  None of these things is a show stoppers, but are annoying none the less and I will not be abandoning my Dropbox account anytime soon.

A Life Routine

I went to the doctor today for my twice yearly checkup, which I have to do because I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol and the medications they give me can have long term effect on my liver. The doctor wants me to see a dermatologist for a couple ugly looking bumps on my left arm, other than that, I am old, slow and fat, in other words, nothing new to report.

Can I have too many dice ?

Will Wheaton is testing the theory that one can never have too many dice. Before he went too GenCon this year he posted that he wanted everyone he met to give him dice and when he got home he would spread them on the floor and take a picture.

 

To me, this is entirely too cool. Not only did he get a ton of free dice, many of them, he said, came with a story. Unfortunately, many of these stories were “This dice is evil, here take it and good riddance !”, so I am not sure I would allow this lot in with my GameScience dice, who knows what form of luck sucking evil exists in this pile, but it is none the less cool and I am jealous.

Season of Halloween

When I was a kid, October was my favorite time of year. First because it meant my birthday was not far off, but second because of Halloween. When I was young I loved the idea of vampires, werewolves, ghosts and monsters of all sorts. I owned all sorts of latex masks and had a mini museum of movie horror in my bedroom. It was also a great time for comic books, October was the time of year the Phantom Stranger and Deadman would guest star in all sorts books across the DC line and they would usually get a Halloween special as well. Even into my early adulthood, Halloween was the time all the best parties were thrown and all the clubs had dress up nights.

Like many things, adulthood seems to take this stuff away and replace it with the mundane. I have always tried to stay a kid at heart, I still read comics and I hope I never live to see the day I can’t laugh out loud to a bugs bunny cartoon. Even so, I cannot remember the last Halloween party I went to or the last time I dressed up in a costume. This year I am vowing to dress up this year on Halloween, I will put on my Green Lantern T-shirt and matching ring. I will proclaim myself the Green Lantern of Space Sector 3600, the last sector, known as the “SLACKER SECTOR”.