Monthly Archives: October 2011

RE: Halloween 2011

Here are pictures from Halloween.

Here is PezWitch as Little Red Riding Worgen.

Here I am a Tech Support Zombie

Two beautiful ladies

Everything Dr Eldritch  said about Tech Support is true, the phones are manned by zombies.

Cheap Ass Comic Con Costumes

Halloween has been a boon to me. I went to the “Spirits” the Halloween store in Killeen and picked up a plastic battle axe (probably a bad idea to take my real battle axe to Comic Con) and a horned Viking helmet. I was expecting to get an el cheapo plastic helmet, but I was surprised to find a rather decent looking one for $30. The horns are plastic, but the helmet is made of metal. I am now raiding my Munchkin cards to build my armor with. I am taking my queue from Vince Caso (Bladezz from the Guild) in this picture.


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Halloween 2011

Halloween is here again. I will probably post some more pictures on Monday depending on how interesting things get at work. Yesterday however, we had a pumpkin carving contest and here was my personal favorite. The 3rd shift guys stuffed a mini ATX system inside this pumpkin. Oddly this one did not win the contest.

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Please note, I covered over the name of the company I work for carved in the mouth of the pumpkin in this picture. Displaying it would break my rule against saying it on the front page. For more in depth view of this, read here.

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This is the view of the computer or at least the fan inside. I hope they don’t leave this sitting through the weekend, otherwise some of those components might be a bit messy to clean up.

A case against Ubuntu and Unity

I have made no secret about not particularly liking the Unity Desktop and its bastard child the Gnome Shell. For me it was just a matter of either using Lubuntu or, as I did this time, immediately install LXDE. This guy feels that is too much and he plans on switching to another distro.

I kind of think he is over reacting, after all, getting the classic Gnome 2 desktop is not difficult. However, I do think he makes some useful points here. Unity is not terribly useful and its major problem is someone else has made the decision as to what applications will be readily available to me. Unfortunately for me, whoever made that choice does not use computers the same way I do and does not use the application set I use. To make matters worse, they have no easy way to alter the Unity Desktop to remove the applications I seldom use and add applications I use more often. I can not even change the location of the menu bar. I really do believe I should never have to click my mouse more then twice to run any application installed on my system.

I expect in the near future we will see Gununtu, a distribution similar to Kubuntu, which packages everything up with Gnome 2. I also expect fairly soon, there will be a fork of the Gnome project, which brings it user interface back to the desktop paradigm and away from the unconfigurable tiled menu bar. Unfortunately this will not help me much since I think Gnome long ago became too code bloated making it slower than it should be.  One thing I have learned from my recent install of Ubuntu is I prefer to install LXDE over the top of a standard Ubuntu install rather than use Lubuntu, so I think in the future I will be sticking with that method of install.

HackMaster, Dogma! Style

There is a style of play known as Dogma!. The basic idea is the players generate characters using 3d6 in order, playing what they get, additionally, the players are not allowed to name their characters or choose an alignment (unless their class required it). Basically Roll the dice, Buy Equipment and Play. On the GM’s part, he generates the dungeon using the random dungeon generator in the original AD&D Dungeon Masters Guild. The GM can also use one of the many online random dungeon generators, but I find it is way more fun to literally generate the parts of the dungeon as the characters enter them. To me this is sort of a Schrodinger’s Cat experiment (BTW, the cat is dead and you are dick for putting it in there to die of radiation poisoning).


New location –

Best GURPS Ability Evar

I was once again perusing the GURPS forum and came across this ability. I had actually seen this several years ago and I was amused to come see it again, this time from its place of origin. It remind me of two things, first the Nobilis RPG, where everyone has godlike powers, but no one ever actually does anything with said godlike powers. Second it reminds me of this asshole I use to know in High School who came up with a champions character whose only power was the ability to destroy the world, which he promptly did simply to piss the GM (Me) off. I had the last laugh though, when he used the power, I said to him “Okay, the world has ceased to exist.”, I then turned to the other players and said, “You see Jerry’s character keel over and die, you have no idea why”.

Munchkin’s Universe-shaking Nondirectional Cosmic Hyperluminal Kinetoelectromagnetic Interference Neurodisrupter (M.U.N.C.H.K.I.N.) (+5190%):

Toxic Attack 1 point (Affects Insubstantial, +20%; Area Effect, 2475880078570760549798248448 yards (about 74 gigaparsecs), +4550%; Cosmic, Irresistible attack, +300%; Emanation, -20%; Rapid Fire, RoF 300, +300%; Selective Area, +20%; Underwater, +20%) [53].

Notes: It’s a cosmic attack, literally. Pulses of cosmic energy that radiate from the attacker (reaching 74 gigaparsecs in a flat second) burn out the neural system of living beings in the affected area, and remember that even the edge of our universe is “merely” about 10 gigaparsecs away from Earth. Also note that an Area Effect attack with Emanation involves no to-hit roll and simply affects anyone in the area. Furthermore, it allows victims only to dive for cover, and actually there’s no effective cover since this Cosmic, Irresistible attack ignores DR. In conclusion, the user can attack every living thing in our entire universe, with 1 point of damage, 300 times per second. Have fun. 53 points.

Ubuntu 11.10

Ubuntu 11.10 was released yesterday, I downloaded the iso and updated my system this morning. This time, I revamped my finishing script to include LXDE window manager, since I have decided I am not a fan of the Unity desktop and Gnome has gotten entirely too bloated. The update went smoothly, so far I have not run into any bugs nor had difficulties configuring anything.

My Ubuntu One account also recently came up for renewal. If you remember I posted about a year ago about needing some online storage and decided to give my money to Ubuntu One rather than Dropbox. I decided on Ubuntu One because first it was cheaper than Dropbox and second it was primarily a Linux service rather than a Windows service, with Linux being an after thought. Over the last year they have improved the service greatly, it is easier to configure and now supports Thunderbird, which is my mail client of choice. Over all I have been pleased and forked out $29.99 for another year.

I have been experimenting with a program called eviacam, which is a program that makes your mouse track your head movement using a webcam. It is mildly amusing, especially when one of the cats jumps in my lap and the webcam starts tracking their tail.

RIP: Dennis Ritchie Sept 9, 1941 – Oct 8, 2011

Dennis Ritchie designed the C programming language and was co-creator of the original Unix operating system. He was one of the greatest programmer of his generation and I am certain he will be missed greatly.

Count down to Austin Comic Con 2011

The count down begins, Austin Comic Con is about a month away. Here is a a picture from last year I didn’t post. I suspect no one is surprised that she was a pretty popular subject for picture taking.

Theives steal a …… Bridge ?

I am a pretty honest guy, I rarely find crime in any form amusing. However, occasionally someone pulls off a crime that is so ballsy, all I can do is tip my hat in respect. DB Cooper for instance, jumping out of a jet air plane at night over fairly isolated forested area requires brass balls to do and if he survived and got to spend the money, then more power to him I say.

Apparently last week Pennsylvania State Police noticed a bridge missing and have no idea what happened to it. While I favor the “Sucked into an alternate dimension” theory, the police think someone stole it, although they admit they have no idea how. The feat was probably not as difficult as it sounds, the bridge was an old unused railroad bridge in an extremely isolated area and the thieves ran very little risk of being discovered. However, I have to give props to the thieves, not many people have the epic balls of steels required to carry out a project this big.

Group Photo Bomb

This is a picture of some of the people I work with, posted without comment.


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RIP Steven Jobs February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs died yesterday, regardless of what you think of Apple as a company or Macs as a platform, Steve Jobs was not just a visionary, he was THE visionary of the Tech industry. Jobs was not always right, but where he went, everyone with 2 brain cells to rub together, followed. Today, technology is just a little bit less sexy and a little bit less fun.

Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a rags to riches story set in a near future dystopian America. The basis of the story is the world is in extreme decay, human civilization in decline, the only escape most people have from their bleak lives is the OASIS, a huge virtual reality where most people spend their days. When the creator of OASIS dies, he leaves his huge fortune to anyone who can solve his three puzzles. Wade Watts is a poor chubby little boy living in a trailer park who solves the first puzzle and it launches him into the adventure of a lifetime.

Cline writes very well and I really enjoyed his characterizations. I completely understood why Wade Watts was in love with the primary female character Art3mis, because I had a crush on her myself by the middle of the book and Wade Watts was a likeable character who I readily identified with. The book is full of 1980’s nostalgia and trivia because James Halliday, then inventor of OASIS, grew up in the 80’s and his puzzles involved 80’s movies references, video games and music. Because I myself am a child of the 80’s, this made the book all that much more fun to read. This book is the best book I have read all year, it is fast, fun and intelligently written. I highly recommend it to anyone.