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Birthday greetings

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Happy Birthday, Bob Portnell!!


(I have never been able to figure out how to tag other LJ users in my posts.)
Update: I figured it out. Finally.

Gone, gone, gone :(

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So, Monday, I went to reboot my notebook and find a blank screen. Not even the company ID screen. A couple light flashed and it tagged the DVD drive, etc., but the light showing the hard drive being accessed never came on, and it never played the music that happens when the login screen comes up.

A little troubleshooting proved fruitless, so I pulled the hard drive and put it in an external case I had on hand and plugged it into my wife's netbook. Huzzah! I could access all my files, so it wasn't that and I still had all my data. This was a good thing, as it had almost all my code I had written in PHP for the last 2 and a half years, all the 3D and other art I had worked on in that time, along with the design work I had done for the website/store my wife wanted to open, not to mention all the personal things I had: art and PDFs I'd downloaded, all the GURPS characters and thought experiment characters I had built in GCA, et cetera. And, of course, there is no backup.

After unmounting the drive, I unplugged it and took it to the back room to prevent a mishap that would likely happen if it encountered my kids. As I was setting it on a shelf... it slipped from my fingers and clattered to the floor.

Yes, I checked it.

Yes, it's dead. :(

This sucks.

I need to speak out with my Geek out

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I said I was gonna do this, and life has just been getting in the way. So this is going to short and to the point

I play tabletop roleplaying games, specifically GURPS and Dungeons & Dragons (D20 and before, I'm not into 4th edition D&D). I have always been a bit of a recluse, and loved science fiction and fantasy. RPGs allowed me an excuse to seek out others and interact with them. I've made a lot of good friends playing these games. Hell, it was RPGs that caused me to meet the woman who became my wife.

I just wish I had a group here in Melbourne. Yesterday, my wife mentioned she missed gaming, too.

I missed the Booms.

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I missed the Booms.

The Space Shuttle must have taken a northern approach to KSC, an approach that spares towns to the south of there, like Cocoa and Melbourne, the window-shaking twin sonic booms that accompany it.

I remember the first time the Shuttle landed. I was standing on the sundeck atop my parents' house. We didn't see the spacecraft, but I'll never forget feeling my lungs shaking in my ribcage as the double booms passed by.

I remember other times in recent years, the Booms would make the house shake. My wife would invariably jump, and I'd smile and say, "Shuttle's coming in." She didn't get used to it until the last couple times we heard it, in the last several months.

Now, it has happened for the last time and I missed it.

And I'll never hear it again.

I wanna cry.

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A social network for your RPG characters

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Have you ever thought about what a social network profile for your favorite role-playing game character would look like? Sure, that would seem like a non sequitur: only a tiny fraction of RPG characters are from Earth, and only a small fraction of those exist in settings set in the early twenty-first century. But still, the profile page has become a way to present one's identity on the 'net, making one for a character seems like a pretty good way of fleshing him or her out.

Back in the 1980s and 90s, in a world-spanning role-playing campaign (which spanned worlds, genres, and game systems), one of my characters, a mage named Czarzhan, created a self-sustaining magical computer network, called the Magus Device. The Magus Device had two primary functions:
  • to gather as much information as possible about the worlds its peripheral devices (called Eye-Os) explored, and

  • to facilitate communication between users ("Users" originally meaning magic-using types, but it was later expanded to include those who often had interaction with magic or unusual phenomena: i.e. adventurers).
I wrote an article on the Magus Device in All Of The Above #34, a GURPS amateur press association magazine, back in 1998 for GURPS 3rd edition. It has been reproduced here. I want to create an incarnation of the Magus Device on the net to allow players to create profile pages for their characters for real.

Of course, what would a profile page on a social network be without connections to friends and the interactions with their pages? Further, most people who play RPGs have more than one character. Trying to maintain a full account, with separate email addresses and forms of identification, for each character would be ludicrous. It would make more sense to have one user log-in for each physical person, and then profile pages for each of the characters which are linked back to that user.

I plan on creating sub-networks for different genre characters (modern, fastasy, supers, sci-fi, others), and eventually adding other functionality to facilitate game play as well: online game rooms, Google Maps-style fantasy maps, etc..

I'm going to make the Magus Device blog the headquarters for updates on the status of this project.

GURPS character sheet woes

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I think I need to do a design of what the character sheet looks like as a whole (effects and such) first, then think about pouring the character sheet contents into it. Switching back and forth between jquery and PHP is making me twitchy.

Aggregator wish list

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Okay, so Leo Laporte posted Sunday about the fact that Buzz failed to put any of his posts for the last two weeks in his public timeline and nobody, not even he, noticed. He felt disillusioned by the whole microblogging culture and said he was going back to his Leoville blog for posting new content.

I read most of the blogs and comics I follow through an aggregator, Google Reader. I realized I followed Leo through his Friendfeed account. I switched over to his Leoville RSS feed and ditched the other. I noticed something that commonly happened on the Friendfeed account: There were often multiply repeated posts, due to feeds from Twitter, Buzz (and probably others) being reposted to Friendfeed.

That got me thinking about things I would like to see in a social media aggregator:


  • I would like to be able to link two or more feeds that I know come from the same person, preferably with an eye to consolidating redundant posts.


  • I would like to be able to read the comments from pages that have that feature enabled (Buzz, Blogs, etc.) and, when I make a comment, have that comment posted with the original page.


  • (this one is Google Reader-specific) I would like to be able to nest my subscription folders within each other. At the moment, I've got a freakin' huge webcomics folder, that would love to split into subcatagories.


Any other thoughts? Please leave a comment.

Nov. 22nd, 2009

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If there are 7 more b'ak'tuns in the Mayan calendar beyond 12/21/2012, the Long Count will really end on 09/22/4772. Is my math right? :)

Nov. 22nd, 2009

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Listening to This Week in Google.

Oct. 7th, 2009

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I am now officially a Linux user! :)

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czarzhan
czarzhan

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