Entries Tagged as 'Uncategorized'

And so it begins again in earnest

It hasn’t actually been a year, I swear.

We seem to have lost pretty much all of 2011, but somehow this old gear still seems to work. We’ve had moves, a hosting switch, and all the distractions that come from giving a proper attempt at life. Needless to say, there’s some cobwebs to blow out around here. That said, well, it is what it is.

Online life can be a funny thing, and I’ve seen plenty of wizened commentary announcing the death of blogs (so 2002) and the rise of social media. Good on ya. Love it. Use it relentlessly. Not quite the same though as creating a space, an ambiance, even a fractured one. Social media is information, connection, conversation. But it’s not experience. I suppose I look at blogging in the same sense as writing a novel in the vein of Don Delillo or Ben Elton. Apparently random, disconnected, fractional. But seemingly despite that, it creates an over arching narrative. There’s a story told through metaphor. Nobody looses the plot, They just can’t predict it.

At any rate, what I really intended to say was welcome back.

I hope you stick around. I think there might be some good bits coming up.

 

 

Image via Mark Andrew Webber

Cash Money’s Batshit Fucking Loco News Out of near Africa

Subcategory: Grave robbing

Subcategory: Not actually Africa

Grave-robbers steal former Cyprus president’s corpse

AP, via UK Guardian, Dec. 11, 2009

"Wait? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Oh... oh, come now! This is... this is preposterous."

CYPRUS – Former president and candidate for world’s best name, Tassos Papadopoulos, is missing from his grave on the first anniversary of his death.

Clues found at site:

-1 pile of dirt, including set of footprints that appears to be all right feet

-1 rubber mask, wolfman

-1 bucket phosphorous paint, empty, of brand not seen since Papadopoulos shut down Old Man Agathocleous’ paint factory

-1 Sonnovox

A Buncha Free Games, Vol. I

I’m mostly interested in writing about Things Worth Having, which make up for their cost in improved Quality of Life. I usually mean high-quality every-day objects when I say that but there’s also a bunch of intangible data worth having. Some people even give it away. Data (i.e. software) takes up no space, so when someone gives a piece of software away, it’s hard not to see it as Worth Having, even if it sucks. At first glance that’s how the math comes out. The cost, however, is the time you spend using it. And it is in that spirit that I give you A Buncha Free Games, Volume I.

Capt. Forever
I’m now officially belaboring this point, but it’s just so good. And now that Capt. Successor is out, you can play the original for free. Now. NOW. (Read the rest later, damn you. That link will open in a new tab.)

Cave Story (Doukutsu Monogatari)
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When Darwinia+ finally comes out I’ll try and explain how much I hate genre-boundaries, because I hate them. Books, music, films, and games that transgress and can’t be classified are lots more fun. Cave Story is a fast, pixelated platformer with RPG-ish NPC development, a nice big inventory, and a story that just goes on and on. (Disclosure: I haven’t completed a single game in this post because they’re all so satisfyingly long.) My point is that if you haven’t played it before, you haven’t played it before. Its not Mario or Metroid, Duke Nukem (THE FIRST ONE) or Commander Keen. It’s cute, the music’s excellent, and the controls are flawless. It’s clearly a labor of love by the author, and you can download it for free and keep it forever. I think you should.
Win – Mac – Linux

Knytt
03 Knytt
Every bit as atmospheric as Canabalt, but not nearly as intense. Well, that’s not fair. The little Knytt got abducted by an incompetent alien and now has to fix the broken spaceship without help. It’s a quiet, beautiful puzzle platform/adventure-thing that is massively cute in a way that makes the solitude of crawling around alone on an alien world seem all the more dire. Again, it’s an ingenious labor of love and totally downloadable, along with its extensible successor, Knytt Stories.
Win – and I run it on my CrunchBang Linux netbook through Wine

Monuments of Mars
Monumentsofmars
This game is so old! Do you even know what CGA graphics are? It’s amazing what you can do with two bits-per-pixel, provided they’re the right two bits. These ones give you Black, Red, Orange, and Green. Monuments of Mars is my favorite exploration of just how much awesome can be gleaned from four colors, and I just found out that all four chapters have been released into the public domain.
YOUR COMPUTER CAN’T RUN THIS GAME! You need to get DOSBOX first so you both can pretend it’s 1992.

ZZT
zzt
I know, I’m trying to run you over with my time machine. ZZT is another absurd blast-from-the-past. Think 4 colors looks primitive? ZZT is all ASCII characters. We care because Tim Sweeney released it almost 20 years ago, and now is still Head Morlock behind the Unreal Engine, which runs Mass Effect, BioShock, Dead Space, Gears of War, Borderlands, Mirror’s Edge, Deus Ex… It all started with ridiculous DOS text characters. In all seriousness, you don’t have to play this game, but it did have a really slick scripting system that made it really easy to build mods. The level editors in Lode Runner and Boulder Dash didn’t hold a candle.
DOSBOX

Cash Money’s Batshit Fucking Loco News Out of Africa

Subcategory: Failure

Norwegian and UK man fail in death appeal in DR Congo

BBC, Dec. 3, 2009

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“Dude, Where’s My Car” sequel goes horribly awry when pair of Norwegian bachelor farmers former members of Norway’s armed forces try to set up a private security firm in the DR Congo.

One dead taxi driver later, the pair is charged with murder, espionage, spying (which is different than espionage, I guess), and arms smuggling.  Cue the torture, the lack of translators, and witnesses getting paid “$5,000 each in compensation in a country where people earn about $3-4 a day.”

Death by firing squad scheduled for Sept. 8.

UPDATE, 12/4/09, DR Congo: “Did we say firing squad? We meant… tiring… blob.  Of.  Jam.  We like… jam.  Yes.  Please don’t bomb us.”

Norway denies all accusations of espionage.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8393814.stm

An open letter to my dad about my relationship with Apple Computer

When I showed you my Ubuntu-based netbook and the CAD software I was running through WINE last summer, you almost seemed hurt when you asked if I had given up on Apple. At the time I quickly dismissed the possibility but looking at the intervening months (even as I compose this on my venerable MacBook Pro) I think the honest truth is a little less shiny.

We got that Apple IIgs in ’87 or ’88. Its capabilities were broad-ranging and we used it in every way possible short of compiling new software. Looking back now, though, its most compelling feature for me was its ability to accept and run BASIC programs, even without disk drives connected. Like the old Sinclair computers in England, there was an understanding that the most basic function of a computer was to run user-created code.
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