Monthly Archives: January 2018

Linux, Ubuntu, Spectre, Meltdown and me

The kernel patches for Ubuntu to fix the Spectre and Meltdown issues were made available tonight, interestingly enough, there was also a patch for the Nvidia driver. I updated my server and my desktop, so far I have not experienced any noticeable performance problems or any other issues with either of the two systems or the VM.

RE: Well stocked bug out bag

Last week I discussed this mostly as a thought experiment. I left out some fairly important items.

  • Backpack
  • 2 Burner phones
  • Cash
  • Visa/Mastercard gift card
  • Change of clothes, including extra underwear and socks
  • Food; water and energy bars
  • Prescription meds, including extra set of glasses
  • First Aid Kit; bandages, anti bacterial creme, iodine
  • Hygiene kit; toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, wash cloth, deodorant, shaving kit, toilet paper
  • Something to read, preferably a couple of paperback books, try to choose something innocuous, a hobby magazine that only you and 98 other people read is a bad idea.
  • Swiss army knife or a leather-man multi tool

Linux on a 486?

Some guy decided to see if he could get a modern Linux distribution to run on an old IBM PS/1. This seemed like a stupid idea to me and after I read the article, I still thought it was a stupid idea.

A Science Project: “Make the 486 Great Again!” – Modern Linux in an ancient PC

The guy was at least smart enough to know if he had to compile it from source it was going to take 3 weeks on that old piece of garbage, so he compiled the source on a modern ThinkPad. He got this abomination up and running, but the poor bastard of a system takes 12 minutes to boot.

Other sites have been discussing this because apparently this is important because this computer is not vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities in modern Intel CPU’s. When I heard this I thought, “WOW, lets do something stupid for an even stupider reason, I am so bereft of useful things to do that I can totally spend a couple of days doing stupid things for stupid reasons.” . Seriously folks, if you need a computer that is not vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown, then go buy a Raspberry Pi and build a Linux desktop out of that.

Why Raspberry Pi isn’t vulnerable to Spectre or Meltdown

A Raspberry Pi will pretty much suck as a desktop as well, but it will be better than a 25 year old 486 by several magnitudes.

RE: RE: The Fantasy Trip

I am not sure this re-emergence of the Fantasy Trip (TFT) is going to be all that successful. Looking around the web in the last few weeks, I have seen a few articles covering the news, but mostly it is just rehashing the Steve Jackson Games (SJG) announcement. Surprisingly, several of the websites dedicated to the subject did not share the announcement. Not surprisingly, the discussion died down fairly quickly on the gaming forums. Even the discussion on the SJG forums seems to be 3 or 4 people talking about rules modifications they want to see. Both the Facebook Group and the Google Plus Group have nearly no discussion going on. Finally, I think this blog is the only place that has talked about it in more than one post.

I think this just bares out what I said earlier, there is really not more than a few hundred active players out there, maybe (probably) not even that many. This game was not all that popular and therefore has a very narrow appeal and I think even most people who did play it back in the day moved on. Steve Jackson said he will be doing a Melee Kickstarter this year, that probably means it will be followed by a Wizard Kickstarter and eventually one for TFT proper. So I have to wonder, will the Melee Kickstarter even fund and if it does, will the follow up Kickstarters fund? It seems unlikely to me right now.

RE: The Fantasy Trip

I have been think about why this game has been fascinating me these last few days. The Fantasy Trip (TFT) was an unpopular RPG back in the day that held very little interest for me and my group at the time. Even in the years that followed I rarely took it out and looked at it. I considered playing through some of the solo games a few years ago but never followed through. But now suddenly Steve Jackson announces that he has acquired the rights to it and will be publishing it again, that I am suddenly interested in it. This is what I have been thinking about.

Both TFT and GURPS fill the same gaming niche. I have come to the conclusion that I like the theory of GURPS, but I don’t particularly like the reality of GURPS. GURPS was not the first of the 3rd generation RPG’s, but it is the one Iliked the best. It lets you build detailed characters and has an interesting game mechanic that allows for as much or as little detail as you want, but it is more of a tool box for building campaigns than it is an RPG. In reality it has way too many fiddly bits, too many moving parts, even at its most basic level it can be overwhelming. I had hoped that the Dungeon Fantasy boxed set would sold some of these problems by building an easy to play, easy to understand stripped version of GURPS, but all they did really was add templates.

I guess, what I am excited about is the possibility of a game that ultimately fulfills the promise of GURPS. I want rules that allows me to build interesting characters with a minimal amount of effort. I like the Talent system, it is basically a skill slash special ability system, the list is long enough to be fun, but not long enough that you spend two hours trying to figure out the best character building strategy. The reality is, I will probably never play this game, or if I do it will be because I run a one off game or two. D&D 5E pretty much does everything I just described, a simple point system for attributes, a general purpose skill system and a few customization options to make it fun. So when the Kickstarter for TFT comes, I will probably not take the $250 get everything option, I will probably just go for the PDF or if I am feeling better, I might order the printed core rules in whatever form they take.