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Monthly Archives: May 2009

angermanagementME Yes its true. While the series has its own Wikipedia page, and there are people who can’t get enough of the series (to make their own SCI engine even) to be honest there were parts of the game that were simply painful.

The original game required a 286 computer, but that was honestly wishful thinking (as there is no computer that makes it run smooth). When I played it as a child on a XT (8 MHz 8088) the save/load times were easily minutes long. Even on my 3 gHz 8 cpu machine it still takes over 10-15 seconds (yes seriously).

So there’s this section where you are floating in the air trying to get away from the sequel police, and it has a unique sequence. You fly up, then right, and once they shoot at you, down and to the stairs. About half the time they shoot you right as you leave the left hand side, another one that will get you is other skaters will stun you and the police will shoot you, but even if you make it to the other side – move right up the stairs is a challenge for your hero for some reason and the guards blow you up there. Needless to say after doing this some 30 times I gave up.

Can you imagine doing this on the old XT? Seriously – it took hours waiting for that ST-225 (2” tall, 25 megs unformatted hard drive, and very very very very slow by today’s standards)  to load the game to try that sequence again and again and again…

So what’s wrong with it? I honestly think there were certain parts of the game that weren’t play tested – ever. Unresponsive controls combined with split second reaction requirements = suck.

And yes I played it on a 386 later on in life, and it wasn’t any better as I remember.

Of course if you know anything about computers – you would know that she is talking complete nonsense.

Guess who has a Pegasos 2 sitting in the closet?

Yeah it was depressing to hear, but at least they let me know. Ah well – ever onward I guess.

On a side note – probably be moving soonish. My parents made me take all the stuff in their attic that belonged to me out a while back – and if you need a bunch of computer parts, computers or components let me know (I have several complete machines!).

Also a huge collection of Commodore 64, 128 (3-4 C64’s and 2 C128’s) and miscellaneous peripherals (I even spotted some 1571’s in there!) from my youth. I even spotted a Commodore Amiga 1000 and a Apple //c (5.25” variety) complete with power supply. Free to a good home :).

Yes I know she's from the Japanese military... Ever since I was a child I had a strange fascination of what made communist dictatorships tick. I’d listen to Radio Moscow (the shortwave version) when I could hear it, and read any article I could find in the library about the Eastern Bloc, China or North Korea. I especially enjoyed reading a story in QST about a ham radio operators experience in Moscow during the coup in 1991.

The good and bad news is there are still countries like this in our world – one of the most infamous is North Korea, and they sort of have a web presence. I say sort of because their website is located in Spain and run by the president of the KFA (Korean Friendship Association) named Alejandro Cao de Benos de Les y Pérez. The reason for this is North Korea doesn’t have any internet connectivity – at least officially they don’t (the South estimates that North Korean Intelligence is actively using it). Anyhow one of the best things on that site asides from the music and fun videos is the official forum which is relatively new. All of the threads have praise for various North Korean actions which I’ll list and refute in a second. The only reason I wouldn’t sign up on their forum and refute their claims in person is North Korea really does border religious fanaticism on a level I cannot begin to describe (every comment I’ve ever left on Youtube on a video related to North Korea has been met with some really interesting replies for example) and I suspect the forum is heavily moderated anyhow – just like the real North Korea.

Anyhow on to the list: Read More »

Picked this up on Steam for cheap – made it about 75% of the way through the game before putting it down.

So basically its a sandbox game where you run around a zone doing repetitive missions for one 5 different people (three factions, a gun shop, and your partner). Its a fun game for a bit, but there are a few really annoying design decisions of the game itself.

A) Everyone hates you. Everywhere you go they drop everything immediately and do whatever they can to kill you. If they are in a vehicle they try to ram into you, but normally they just run around trying to shoot you. Even the people you are doing missions for shoot at you. The back-story for this phenomenon is they are secret missions, but its clear that programming various factions to be nice to you was just too darn difficult.

If you’ve never played this game it would be like having 5-10 people at every single intersection in Grand Theft Auto camped by these people who hate you. Makes it really annoying to go anywhere.

B) There is no direction in the game what-so-ever until you complete about 40-50 missions in each zone. This may not sound so bad, but see point A) – getting anywhere in this game is a pain because everyone wants to kill you.

C) Once NPC’s see you – they know where you are at all times – there is no hiding from them. In other words there’s no real sneaking up.

The biggest flaw is that every single mission can be done by basically pulling up your armed truck to the mission area and shooting everything that moves.

I’ve had a few people write me about the bad news about what’s going on at Stream (I’ve probably said too much…). I’ve replied to them, but I have a feeling they still block incoming email from hotmail.com… Anyhow if you’re reading this – send me something from your person email account :).

Anyhow I wish everyone there the best of luck and if anyone there needs a letter of reference, definitely let me know, but don’t use your Stream email account :).

I have an interview tomorrow at 10am, and I can’t sleep. Why me? Anyhow I’m wondering how well I’ll do with 2-3 hours of sleep at this point. All I have to do is be alert for 1 hour.

So update: interview went pretty well I thought – they seem really nice.

I mentioned to a friend that I thought he should tune into NPR to learn about the elections in India to which he responded (paraphrasing here) that no, he shouldn’t because they are incredibly biased. To be honest this isn’t the first time I heard this claim – the first time I heard this claim it was from my scoutmaster who used to carry a solar powered radio to listen to Rush Limbaugh while on the trail (yes – I’m really not making this up). So I apologize – as far as I know NPR is the only radio network reporting on India on the airwaves of Seattle so I thought it made some sense.

I suspect this claim is that the impression given from NPR is they are an inherently liberal organization. But every time I’m baffled – honestly. While they do have opinion pieces – I’ve frequently heard both left and right sides being discussed. In fact that last story btw – written by the National Review who is by their own admission a right wing think tank – doesn’t get much more conservative than that.

But most stories on the air aren’t even opinion pieces (you’d really be lucky to hear one all morning) – they are just reporting what is happening in our country and abroad (and I’ve never heard them give any partisan jabs like you see or hear on Fox TV and Radio). After listening to many and reading the transcripts of many stories on the front of NPR.org – I really can’t find any bias left or right in the vast majority of all their pieces (or in fact any).

There is bias at NPR – there probably always will be. They are however the only news organization I know of that employs a right wing and a left wing ombudsman. In the end I guess what I want to know is this: compared to what? In other words – can you name one non biased news organization? I think it terms of the level of bias – NPR is surely one of the lesser.

BTW – searching media matters (who does seem to give equal time to all news outlets) – the one NPR story I found on there was criticizing NPR for repeating a right wing talking point…

On the other hand – this is bias :).

Do they work? If you visit a site like this you might come away with – maybe. To be honest most vendors who sell and promote these things come across like multi-level marketers. If they toned down their pitch they might be a tad more believable. Basically its a strobe light that they want $165 for. The idea is its supposed to be irritable to their eyes.

Anyhow I’ve had problems with squirrels having squirrel parties in my attic. I’ve never seen them, but you can see evidence of them (and you can hear them) – they tear up insulation, and they make noise all day long, and all night long. And lately its been getting worse – to the point where I’ve woken up at like 3 am to these parties going on. They are definitely more active late at night.

So you can’t shoot, or poison squirrels in any state in America. Trapping them seems kinda tedious – plus I don’t have any traps. I thought about using rat traps, but cleaning up could be messy. But I don’t really have a $165 to spend on a miracle solution – doubly so as the place I live in is rented.

Well I found a cheaper one from some company called B2 Lighting FX on eBay for $20 plus like 6 dollars for shipping. So I bought that and it arrived today. Its a basic strobe light you might buy for a Halloween party – there’s nothing special about it. It has an adjustable strobe rate control on the back and an AC plug. It also has a mounting bracket, but I just set it on top of a box.

I will be completely honest here: I switched it on and they all left within minutes. The silence is deafening and quite pleasant. I’ll let all 3 of my readers know if this works after a week. Its supposed to condition the squirrels in the tree in my yard that coming inside the attic is painful to their eyes and eventually you don’t have to have the light up there.

5/8/2009 – I heard some squirrels come in, and leave rather quickly. There were no squirrel parties last night which is nice. So far the rodent strobe appears to be working.