Monthly Archives: May 2012

So long and thanks for all the fish – Part 2

This is officially my last post here. I may start blogging again in the future, if I do, I will probably start over from scratch. I plan to leave this blog intact for the time being, but I will likely take it down at some point. I have no plans to give up this site, if for no other reason than to continue the Companions of Xarth wiki and maintain my current email address. I visited my Facebook account for the first time in weeks and I shaved my friends list down to 30, I may even go tighter than that. However, if you are family or made some reasonable effort to stay in contact with me, I will not unfriend you. I will start posting my random meanderings there. So there you have it, after 28 months, thanks for reading, it was fun.

So long and thanks for all the fish – Part 1

Okay, I am going to admit defeat here. I simply do not have the bandwidth anymore to post here on anything remotely resembling regularity. In the next day or two I am going to decide if I just want t take a break for the summer or if I need to just shut it down and shift what little blogging I do back to Facebook. Right now, I am leaning towards the latter rather than the former.

Linux Mint 13 RC

As I have previously stated, I have moved away from Ubuntu as my distro of choice, primarily because of their choice to replace Gnome 2 with the Unity desktop and the direction the Gnome Foundation is taking Gnome 3. I tried a couple of different alternatives and I finally settled on Linux Mint and I have been using version 12 for 3 or 4 months now. Linux Mint is a Ubuntu derivative and so its new version follows the Ubuntu releases by a month or 2. Well, this week Linux Mint 13 Release Candidate has been released. Normally, I’d wait for the final, but it is time to upgrade my server which is still running Ubuntu 10.04, the previous Long Term Support release. So I would like to update my server as soon as the Linux Mint 13 final has been released and that means I need to be a head of the game.

So this morning I installed the latest RC release. I have installed Linux so often on so many machines, reinstalling is fairly trivial to me now. For the record, installing Windows is just as trivial to me. I have a couple of scripts that automate all the tedious things that must be done on a fresh install, like running updates, installing software I use and removing things I don’t need. My only complaint at this point is the installer wanted to download and install a bunch of language packages that I did not really need and the download was taking way to long. So I restarted the install and this time, did not connect to the Internet until after the system was installed. Once in, I ran three scripts, while I watched an episode of NCIS on my TiVo, I then spent a few minutes adjusting my desktop and that was it. So far no complaints, everything went smooth.

The only real question left is should I buy a new computer to replace my server. It has been in service for 3 years and it was used when I got it. The problem wih computers is the older it gets the more likely it is to fail and I would much rather be a head rather than behind that curve. I am thinking maybe a $299 Dell will suffice just fine. For a server I do not need Nvidia video or more than 2GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive is bigger than the one I am using now. Well, anyway, not today, maybe I will order it so it arrives while I am on vacation, I don’t know.

Interesting moments in life

The girl behind the counter at Chick-fil-A gave me the senior discount. A couple of years ago this might have annoyed me, today, my only thought was Woo-Hoo 10% discount, life is good.

GURPS Cyberpunk ][

I was looking over the GURPS Cyberpunk book and reading the recent Pyramid Magazine dedicated to updating GURPS Cyberpunk to GURPS 4E and two things jumped out at me. First, the Cynerpunk genre as seen through the lens of 1990 is outdated and almost retro now. Second, the rules for building computers and CyberDecks does not really parallel or emulate real world computers at all. The first one I am not really going to get into, science fiction writers have been getting it wrong for a lot longer that 20 years. The second issue though requires some looking at from a game mechanic aspect.

GURPS computer rules seemed to be based on the idea that Atari ruled the personal computer industry rather than IBM and Apple. The rules are based on the idea that computers come with their operating system (OS) hard coded into the hardware and programs can only be run a very few at a time and are loaded by slotting the media into the system. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but my OS has not been hardwired into my computer for a very long time and my programs are installed onto my hard drive, not slotted in like a Nintendo game and I can run a whole boat load of programs at the same time.

At the current time, we are living in a mature Tech Level (TL)  7. General purpose computers are fairly common and dedicated computers are small, cheap nearly everyone has one.  What is not available at this point is a true 3D interface, most of our interaction with computers is still based on the keyboard and mouse, touch screens and gestures are only now just coming into common use. Most Cyberpunk stories pretty much take place in early TL8, where computer technology and communications have made large leaps, medicine has made many interesting steps forward, but men are still killing each other with bullets and space travel is still largely non-existent.

In my brain I thinking along the lines of the Book Ready Player One, where most computing has been taken over with a massive online world called Oasis and while there is a variety of computers and equipment available, all of it will run Oasis to some degree or another and even the poorest people can afford a dedicated system to access it. At its most basic level, the computer you are using is basically not relevant, what is important is your avatar and your ability to build it up. Of course having better equipment and higher speed network makes things easier for you, but at the end of the day, your avatar can still be put in the penalty box with a virtual bullet to the head, just like everyone else.