Will Wright’s latest software toy is out, and while I would be excited over such an ambitious project, I have also been underwhelmed by SimCity 4 and other games of that type in the past several years. There’s also a protest afoot against the game’s copy protection, so it has just over one star on Amazon.com. On a mailing list at work I explained that instead of rushing out to buy the new game, I’m taking a wait-and-see approach:
My interpretation is that it is an intriguing idea, but rather than building an interesting and educational toy, EA smashed it into an over-hyped high-priced bauble aimed at mass-market appeal. You can download the creature creator for free, but instead of being constrained by say, the amount of metabolism your creature would require or how fast it could reproduce given all it attributes, the only trade-off I could find was that if you spend more “money” you can buy more “features” . . .
My approach for now is to boycott the initial sales to see if they come around on the DRM, and wait to hear what other folks think of it, as well as maybe a price drop.
I arrived at work today to find that someone had left a bit of the Wall Street Journal sitting on my desk, open to this page:
Now, why would someone leave me this photo? For anyone who knows me, they might reasonably conclude that the sight of Korean women marching in skirts might lift my spirits in particular. And while I certainly do appreciate that aspect I also enjoy the obviously uncomfortable looks on their faces: is it the heavy-handed discipline? the insane authoritarian cult? the spotty food rations? the high goose-stepping? the discomfort of pantyhose?
Later in the day, my benefactor greeted me and explained his gift. It is because I have this picture tacked to my cube, stolen from Xinhua:
That’s the Chinese anti-terrorism people drilling on Segway scooters.
Just kidding. I recently got inspired to draw a fairly absurd cartoon:
Dating is an adventure, for sure. I went for a more “informal” feel here, doing the text all freehand. I have mixed feelings about the result, but it is better to produce than to procrastinate.
And since you bought the DVD, here’s the bonus material–the “making of” the above comic:
A few weeks back I trekked over to Japantown to pick up some good pens at Kinokuniya. I pencil the thing in, then go over it with ink. In this case, I settled on a 0.7mm Zebra Hyper Jell for the text and a finer 0.5mm Sarasa Stick for the figure. I have a 0.8mm Uniball Vision Elite but that is complete crap compared the the fancy Japanese pens.
And yes, let the ink dry before erasing the pencil. Unfortunately with these finer pens it takes some off the ink out too.
I have always had every intention in the world to vote for Barack Obama. I really wish liberals found him more fascinating than the Republican ticket because while I admire and respect John McCain and Sarah Palin I would just as soon not hear anything more about them. I mean, shut up already! Yeah, the doddering maverick POW, and the folksy ultra-conservative corrupt hockey Mom from Alaska–I know, I get it, I’ve had my fill! Can we go back to talking about the charismatic Christian-not-Muslim black guy and his tell-it-like-it-is sidekick for a change? Hearing about those guys doesn’t irritate the f*ck out of me.
While testing an application, a user requested that I configure the mail server to only deliver to addresses within our company, but drop all mail sent outside. (We don’t want to accidentally bother customers.)
I was a little frustrated by this problem, but now I have a solution. The trick is to set up a transport map that leaves mail destined for our local domain as-is, but then drops everything else.
First, set up a
# cat transport
# postmap transport
transport_maps = hash:/path/to/transport
Reload Postfix and send test messages. The discard service successfully “delivers” messages straight to the trash, like so:
Sep 15 14:55:10 myhost postfix/discard: 6F0A22E04E: to=<email@example.com>, relay=none, delay=0, status=sent (toldme.com)
Lately I have taken to reduced caffeine. During the week, I drink tea. On the weekend I head out to the cafe and enjoy a chocolate croissant and a black cup of coffee, which leaves me bold and reckless. Last weekend I picked up some paints at the hardware store, with no clear goal in mind. I used up the yellow painting the wall of my dining area, then felt inspired to render a Swedish Flag with the blue. I’m pretty pleased with the result. I think there may be a bit more to come.
There’s a new feature in recent versions of Firefox, where you can go to the History menu, and at the bottom you can access “Recently Closed Tabs”. I am very happy to learn that you can “undo” the tab you just closed in haste with:
I was so thrilled by this just now I thought I would pass the tip along.
Tonight I mastered the last level of Fantastic Contraption that had not yet succumbed to my tenacious procrastination efforts:
The cap to a very enjoyably relaxed weekend. And Pandora is playing some Seeed’s Waterpumpee. (German Reggae-Dancehall)
The following bit of advice, while not of my creation, has been well-received of late:
You’ve been meeting folk but there are those who you’d rather avoid, and you delete them from your phone. Later, they call and you answer because the number looks familiar: maybe it is a family or coworker! Awkwardness ensues.
Solution? Keep the number, but change the name to “Do Not Answer” — especially if you may have a tendency to get drunk / lonely.
I do not actually use this strategy, but I read it a couple years ago and its re-telling was recently well-received, so I thought I’d share.
Me? I recently changed my voicemail to explain that I tend to avoid my mobile phone altogether and that e-mail works far better. I really dislike talking on the damn thing. It makes my brain warm and leaves me feeling anxious. Yeah, I’m weird.
I hate mobile phones. I have had a Sidekick2 forever because it lets me jot down notes and do e-mail and IM and check things on the web. But I fricking hate talking on mobile phones! I have been tempted to ditch the expense and hassle of carrying a device around all the time and move back to index cards and save myself $50-$60 per month. Alas, a mobile phone is basically required of any SysAdmin. In the past year I have had the good fortune of working at a larger company, where I’m only on-call for two weeks every other month. So, I have begun to leave the mobile device not-on-my-person when I’d like to relax. It is kind of a bummer for people who want to call me, but the tranquility does me good.
Anyway, the HTC Android “Google Phone” was announced yesterday. I bit the bullet and pre-ordered an upgrade for my trusty old Sidekick2. After all, a lot of the same team who designed the Sidekick went to work on Android, and the large company I work for is sending out the bonus checks this week. I’m starting to get a little excited at the idea of having a GPS device, because mapping is so hot. But the other win for me is to annoy the iPhone people.
Because I am a cantankerous old mobile-phone hater, I’m also naturally annoyed at the whole iDong Mac fanboy spectacle. The iPhone is that first fancy phone, but my soul reviles at the thought of paying a premium to get locked into the whole iTunes racket and . . . ugh. It is a toy! The open development platform is going to be a nice improvement on the Apple-mediated iPlatform. Anyway, the other reason I’m looking forward to getting the new Android is to steal the self-satisfaction from my iPhone comrades. “My phone does all that janky stuff too, but it costs me somewhat less and I have greater freedom.”
What is neat about mobile phones and other “micro-computers” is that there is no dominant operating environment yet. Apple and Google are trying to get in early, and doing a better job at it than Microsoft, and it is refreshing that Google’s device emphasizes open source and platform portability. We’re going to get to replay the “OS Wars” of the 1980s and 1990s all over again and I honestly think the Android platform has a lot of potential to dominate. I personally believe that in the next few years it will have surpassed Apple a great deal, because much as MS-DOS was licensed to a growing horde of PC makers, Android seeks to live on many devices, and Apple, just as in the old days, will become that special province with 10% market share of loyal Apple weenies. I liked Apple weenies a lot more when they were persecuted oddballs. These days they’re just irritating.
Anyway, blah blah blah blah, The Joy of Tech has the best analysis of why Android will whoop Apple’s ass.
If you would like to understand the Chinese, check out “Do you have . . . ?” from ChinesePod.com.
(yǒu méiyǒu bǐ?)
It is neat how the asking works: yǒu méiyǒu literally means “have not-have.”
Incidentally, if anyone knows how to type the pinyin with the accent marks, please clue me in. Thanks!
My bank failed this morning. Apparently I am now a customer of JPMorgan Chase.
I had previously bought some stock at $2.10 a share, you know, as a gamble. First time I ever bought stock in an individual company. Well, I lost on that one. No biggie.
I like how amid the financial turmoil, that my bank can fail, and that immediately, I am a customer at some other bank. That’s really swell. We call that “graceful degradation.” Go go FDIC!
Still, I am a little sad. I liked Washington Mutual. Now my bank matches my credit card. Enh.
Go go Google!
We do not generally take a position on issues outside of our field, especially not social issues . . . however, while there are many objections to this proposition — further government encroachment on personal lives, ambiguously written text — it is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8. While we respect the strongly-held beliefs that people have on both sides of this argument, we see this fundamentally as an issue of equality. We hope that California voters will vote no on Proposition 8 — we should not eliminate anyone’s fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love.
Official Google Blog
I heard the bailout got defeated and the stock market went to hell. So I dialed up npr.org and found:
Holy poop! That’s
Roast Beef! Yes, NPR has a story on Achewood, that is an enjoyable escape from the perils of reality.
. . .