I was calling a corporate helpdesk today and I had to hold myself back from starting my question with “hey, I’ve got a noob question here”. Typically in the online world, most people open their sentence with that if it’s going to be about something trivial, me included, and prolonged usage dragged it into real life, but I’m sure the operator at the helpdesk would’ve had a funny or confused expression on their face if they weren’t used to online communities.
I haven’t been able to get a group to do the new Runnyeye instance yet, but I did manage to get a few friends together and do another zone that I’ve always wanted to run through, Nektropos Castle: The Return, or Nek2 for short.
Nek2 is basically a level 50 remake of the good old Nektropos Castle that we’re all so familiar with. The only difference is that unlike Nek1, which has a ton of quests inside, and even more heritage quests which require you to tour the zone, Nek2 has a total sum of zero quests.
The instance is a lot more linear than the first. Unlike the first, the place has caved in at a lot more places, resulting in conveniently blocked passageways and only one path leading to the end of the zone.
Two of my friends returned to the game because of the Living Legacy trial program, who conveniently happened to be a Shadowknight and a Dirge, complimenting my usual duo of a me (a Fury) and friend who plays a Swashbuckler. With the exception of the two patchwork golems right at the beginning of the zone who seemed to have a ton more HP than even some of the other names, we tore through the zone with just four of us.
It was a fun trip down a zone that I’ve always longed to do, and we came out with a decent amount of AA gained. The only thing that I would whine, and whine really badly about the zone is that the drops were pathetic. Every single named we killed dropped wood. Disappointing. Disgusting. Pathetic.
Watched my first Indiana Jones movie today and I loved it. Indiana Jones reminds me the Daniel Jackson character in the Stargate series, which is one of my favorite shows/TV series. I’m not sure how I’ve missed out on watching all of the Indiana Jones movies my entire life, but I’m going to have to land my hands on them.
I’m completely puzzled by this. Transferring a file across the network (GigE), a file that contains real data moves much slower (it’s almost a 10 MB/s difference!) than a test file created by
fsutil. As far as I know, and I maybe wrong here, the content of a file shouldn’t matter when transferring across the network as the protocols involved (TCP and Samba) doesn’t do any compression on its own. Explanations anyone?
Transfer rate with a test file of the exact same size created by fsutil
There is no doubt that the naming process is the bane of anything I create or own. Having to name something is a show stopper for me. When creating an MMO character, I spend hours staring at the character creation screen not knowing what to come up with. When I had to give my blog a name, I couldn’t think of one either, nor my domain. I couldn’t come up with names for the small applications that I’ve written for my own use, the computers in my network, and the list goes on, and in the future, naming my kid, if I’m ever fortunate enough to get married, that’s going to the biggest pain of them all.
Turns out that I’m not the only person that’s struggling at coming up with names. There are guides at coming up with (network) names here and two RFCs that talk about naming, RFC1178 – Choosing a Name for Your Computer and the slightly humorous RFC2100 – The Naming of Hosts that consists of a poem. There’s even an entire site that’s dedicated to helping you chose a naming scheme at http://namingschemes.com/Main_Page.
One thing I learnt from all of that is having a theme largely simplifies the naming process when you need to come up with a large number of names. It might already be obvious to you, but it wasn’t to me. I ought to name all my machines after the deities in the Forgotten Realms, which is by far my favorite D&D setting.
ArsTechnica recently ran an article on the dying of classic video game arcades and many gamers today talk about them with a kind of wistfulness. Unfortunately, despite being a gamer myself, I am unable to share that same nostalgic feelings.
I don’t fancy arcades. Wait, that sentiment is not strong enough to express what I feel. Let me rephrase my point.
I hate arcades.
That is not to say that I’ve always felt this way towards arcades. I did beg my parents for money to allow me to visit arcades when I was still in primary school, that is to say, when I was between the ages of six to twelve. Past that however, I cannot recall a single instance of wanting to be in an arcade voluntarily.
It would seem that as I grew older, I actually started to despise the arcade more. Right now, I see them as a horrible entropy of noise and light, blaring and flashing at me from every direction. It’s a seizure inducing place. I love being able to sit in the quiet comfort of my chair, being in an room that has just the right temperature, and completely immersing myself in a virtual world with zero distractions. The arcade just isn’t a conducive gaming environment.
One’s personality also changes over time, and so does the activities that he indulges in. The same applies within the context of gaming. Aside from all that noise and crowd, it seems that the genre of games that I play shifted. I used to be a huge FPS (first person shooter) fan. I played every sequel of Unreal Tournament, every sequel of Quake, Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Battlefield 2, and most recently, Team Fortress 2. However, I am no longer able to obtain the same sense of gratification from these games that I was able to before. I am only able to manage perhaps, two or three hours a week playing Team Fortress at most. Past that, it feels like “why bother?”.
The above mentioned games all share common similarities with arcade games. There is no compelling reason to play them. They’re all in essence, an infinite loop of a grinding treadmill. It is not the same as in an MMO, whereby I might spend ten hours getting a level, but that one level is as intrinsic as it can get. I get to keep that one level, and as long as that virtual world exists (the game isn’t pulled offline), I’ll forever be one level higher than I was before. In an arcade game however, when I come back tomorrow, even to the same machine, I’ll have to work through all of that again. There is no persistency, there is no goal and hence, actions simply have no resulting effect.
Not all shooters are the same however. Single player shooters generally much more like an RPG. They have a compelling storyline to follow. Sure, I might have to kill a couple hundred Covenant grunts in Halo along the way, but there is real and visible progress being made that is relayed through the advancement in the finely crafted story.
A huge sandbox is what these shooters and arcade games are, and being placed in a sandbox with another individual so that we can spend the next couple hours trying to mindlessly blow each other up over and over again is no fun. Remember that episode of Stargate SG-1 where Jack O’Neill and Daniel Jackson got stuck in a time loop? It’s exactly what these games are. No matter what you do, you always start back at zero again. That’s the reason why I choose to play RPGs and MMORPGs, and I can never bring myself to play the same kind of shooters I once did before.
I’m sorry for switching the theme on you readers again. I realize that it’s not pleasant to have to relearn a new layout each time you visit my blog, but it had to be done.
It’s always the small UI quirks that get me. As much as I loved the soft look of the previous theme, the few small details kept coming back and bugging me.
First and foremost, was the location of the sidebar. Traditionally, the navigation menu has been on the left side of the page (or the top), but over the recent years, most blogs have it located on the right. I find that this makes tremendous good sense as it minimizes the distance one would have to move between the scroll bar and the navigation menu. Of course this problem wouldn’t exists if you used the wheel located on the mouse, but I’ve never been a great fan of that. The wheel doesn’t offer me the precision necessary to scroll text while I read and digest them. Don’t tell me about smooth wheel plugins, those make things even much worse. The wheel is great for other things, like scrolling text in blocks, or zooming, but just not for this purpose.
Secondly, the font size was just too darn small for when I’m not pressing my nose to my monitor. I’ve to squint to read when I’m tired. I’m not sure if any of my readers noticed, but I certainly did.
Another thing was the fixed size layout. At 1280×1024, the last great dividing resolution between normal LCD monitors and gigantic widescreen ones, and the last acceptable resolution to be running a browser in fullscreen (I hope if you have a 2560×1600 monitor, you’re not wasting all that screen real estate by running one instance of a browser full screened), there is just too much white space. I understand the rationale between packing text into a fixed and not too lengthy column facilitates better reading, but this goes back to the font sizes. If the font size was larger, the column could have been wider and thus, pack the same amount of characters on the same line despite the wider space to fill.
I could alternatively write my theme that suited all my quirks and oddities, but I’m horrible at CSS. As I told my project members once while we were developing a web application, “if I had my way, this whole site would have been nothing but plain text”. I’m pretty sure that if I got down to working on it, the result would be an abomination. Once again, apologies to my readers, but the village had to be destroyed in order to save it.
I don’t usually do shows reviews and I don’t think I even capable of writing one, but The Big Bang Theory has to be one of the best sitcoms ever. Don’t let its name fool you, it’s more than just a geek show. I’ve been repeatedly watching it ever since I came across it and the jokes never get old. It is that good. I wouldn’t say it is my favorite TV show, because first place would be a tough fight between this and The IT Crowd. I’m not quite sure why I enjoy watching shows that sometimes tend to seem like parodies of my life, but I guarantee that you won’t walk away from this one disappointed. There are episodes on the official site linked above that you could watch episodes if you’re in the US but if you’re outside, I’m sure it’s still pretty easily obtainable through your favorite distribution channel.