Saturday, August 30, 2008

Vanguard MMO

Tried installing Vanguard today. First problem: the discs show up as blank, so I had to download the installer and then let the patcher download the entire game. Several hours there. When it came time to run it, I concluded that the AthlonXP 3200 CPU and 512M Radeon X1650 video card I've got just aren't up to it. I'm going to have to wait on Vanguard until I can build more powerful systems.

I may pick up the boxed set for WoW and give it a try again just to see if it's changed any since last I looked at it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fandom and detractors

Over the years, I've come to an odd conclusion. I've listened to, watched and become familiar with a certain species of person who, when faced with sci-fi, furry, anime or other fans, consistently puts them down. Common comments by them about fans are "fatties living in their parents' basement", "have no lives" and so on. You've probably met them if you've gone to any convention, or ran across the SomethingAwful crew.

My conclusion? The types who put down fans seem to fall closer to the stereotypes they're disparaging than the fans they're trying to put down.


On a related note, I also need to set up a dentist's appointment. I've got one molar where the filling's cracked again, and it's going to need a root canal and crown 'cause there's not enough left to fill. One upper incisor (one I cracked one edge off of as a kid) also needs work, the filling's cracking and coming loose and I suspect they may prefer something more substantial than a filling there. Neither of them's painful, but I need to get at least some of the work done this year to use up the health-care account money I set aside for them. I've been putting this off because I loathe having work done in my mouth.


Frack. The nosepads on my new glasses have been giving me some problems, digging into the sides of my nose to the point of nearly cutting the skin. So I went to a) swap the nosepads from my old pair (that were comfortable) onto the new pair and b) put a layer of padding on them while I had them off. So what happens? The screwdriver slipped getting one screw off, and then again putting it back in. Result: two nasty scratches on the left-hand lens. I'm not sure if they're just in the teflon coating or actually in the polycarb itself, and if they are in the teflon whether the lens can just be recoated or will have to be replaced.

I so do not need this sort of annoyance.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cel phone

My phone's starting to go a touch wonky, and I've 2 others for friends that're also starting to go weird. So, time to look at upgrades. Since I'm through AT&T, formerly Cingular, I'm limited to what's available through them. My basic requirements are Bluetooth support and not a bar phone, with a strong preference for ones with software support in Linux to upload/download items to the phone and alter settings. Right now my candidates are:
  • Samsung A737
  • Nokia 6555
  • Samsung SLM
  • Pantech Duo
  • Palm Treo 750
  • AT&T Tilt
Any recommendations from the geeks out there?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bad news for SD realtors

Foreclosures up over 200% compared to last year. That's not good news. Well, not for realtors and/or homeowners in trouble, that is. If you look at the graph, the trends are alarming. The massive spike, well above historical maximums, is really obvious.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gas prices

Gas is down to $3.79 at the Valero I normally fuel up at. That's a 60 cent drop, nearly 15%, over the last 6 weeks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Doctors and discrimination

CA Supreme Court rules that doctors can't discriminate based on sexual orientation.

The key point in this decision is that the doctors had no moral or ethical objections to performing the procedure in question. In fact they performed it routinely. They simply objected to those particular patients having it. Some advocates are painting this as an infringement of a doctor's right to their own moral code. Bullshit. Under this decision, if a doctor finds artificial insemination or abortion or any procedure morally objectionable, they can refuse to perform the procedure. And they can reject certain patients based on legitimate medical grounds, eg. that that procedure would be medically harmful for that patient. What they can't do is flip-flop on moral grounds, deciding that a procedure's moral for one patient and not for another. Which to me seems reasonable. If a doctor found the procedure itself objectionable, why would they perform it for anybody? And if they don't find it objectionable, where's the problem?

Complicating matters for the doctor in this case is the fact that the doctor signed an agreement with the HMO to provide this procedure to all covered patients. The patients the doctor refused were covered by that HMO. So the doctors not only have a civil-rights problem, they've got a breach-of-contract problem.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

SOE Fan Faire

Had a good time. Didn't get to meet Danya (she was there but I never crossed paths with her), did get to meet most of the rest of the people I was looking to meet. Was going to meet Tora and Jeremy for lunch or dinner, but Tora had a mess of a day and by the time we got in contact I was in the middle of the attendees-only dinner and presentations. By the time I was out of that it was 11pm and we had to head back home. Life's annoying like that.

Got a good look at DC Universe Online, the new superhero MMO Sony's doing. Looks good. The game itself looks a lot like CoH/CoV, but with more flexibility and fewer pointless restrictions. You don't have tightly-defined archetypes, for instance. Leveling up doesn't involve gaining new powers or replacing old abilities with newer ones. You get your powers, travel ability and such right off at the beginning, and as you level up your powers get more powerful and you refine your control over them letting you do more with them. So, for instance, if you made a Cyclops clone, at the beginning your eye-beams could only hit one target at a time. By the time you hit 20, they do more damage when they hit, your aim's better and you're starting to be able to for instance split the beam to hit more than one target at a time. But you don't have to shell out money (in whatever form) to get those improvements, they happen as your character gets more experienced. What you can do is use rewards you've gotten from defeating villains to buy additional equipment and boosts that you can equip, for instance extra armor for your costume (making you tougher) or a new visor to boost the power of your eye-beams even more by focusing them. And you can change those out, so while you may not have enough room to equip both the armor and the new visor at the same time you can swap between them at will depending on what's needed at the moment. And no, you can't play the major DC heroes like Superman and Batman. That's not because of any arbitrary trademark rule, but because those characters are already in the game. You interact with them, generally at first and then more and more personally as your character levels up and builds their reputation, until eventually you're no longer the new kid on the block but the established hero they call on when they need help. The evil side works similarly, and there's varying degrees of PvP so heroes can always fight villains. The exact rules are going to vary by server and area within the game, so you won't be forced to deal with constant PvP if you don't want to but the possibility's always going to be there if you do want to.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

SOE Fan Faire

Date set. I'll be up in Vegas Saturday for a day of Fan Faire. Mostly it'll be to meet people who'll be there.

Note to self: at least one bottle of Arrogant Bastard for Brasse.

SOE Fan Faire

Well, I can't make the full 3 days of Fan Faire, the hotel room and such are just too big a drain. But I'm going to try to make one day, either Friday or Saturday. Drive up in the morning, back that night. It's only 250 miles each way, draining but doable and I'll have at least one day to recover before going back to work. Just have to find out if memberships are still available at this short a notice.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Georgia - Ossetia - Russia

Maybe I'm being cynical, but three suspicions:
  • Russia is really funding and supporting the separatists specifically to cause problems for Georgia.
  • It's about the oil, or specifically the oil pipelines. Georgia sits squarely on the main pipeline route to the Black Sea, and Russia would rather be the ones in that position.
  • Russia will say anything that the rest of the world wants to hear about peaceful resolution and cease-fires, but the tanks won't stop rolling until the pipelines are solidly under Russian control.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Optimist vs. pessimist

I find being a pessimist more satisfying. Think about it. The best an optimist gets is "Working as expected.". Anything else is only a disappointment. A pessimist, though, at worst gets "Working as expected.", and anything else is a pleasant surprise. I'd rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Transit reimbursement

Work's set up a new program to let us pay for bus passes and such with pre-tax money. I plan on taking advantage of this.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Vampire day

It's vampire time again. The Red Cross Bloodmobile is out back, and I'm schedule to give another pint. This brings me up to an even gallon.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Schlitz beer

Ye gods, Schlitz is back. I remember that beer. Worse than Miller. Gah.

DHS may sieze and keep laptops indefinitely

Washington Post article

The actual policy PDF

This is one of the reasons I don't like DHS. That "we can do anything we want and you can't object" attitude torques me right off. I want the same rights to their computers that they think they have to ours. And I suspect this is going to kill business travel from the rest of the world to the US in a hurry. No company's going to want to risk having expensive laptops (not to mention all their data) appropriated.