Monday, May 23, 2011

That Sense of Ennui

Today one of my coworkers convinced me to fire up UO on a free shard. Despite my past runnings with Az, I ended up giving in and doing so. I immediately installed the old midi's and dove in. Oh sweet nostalgia. It's hard to imagine finding that immediate sense of it with a game that has changed so much in 15 years. It's also hard to imagine, I first picked up this game, when I was only 12.

It's odd how you remember things. Yea, it's still very different. But I'm running around West Brit, and things come flooding back, and that's probably how I found myself just 50 minutes later, macroing so I could watch TV. Ahh, how UO doesn't change.

Happy Post Fake Rapture Looting!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Things We Accept

So I'm leaving <Store, redacting seems good here> today, and a younger guy is in a full on argument with the loss prevention guy at <Store>. Why? Out of refusal to show a receipt. Now, granted, I didn't know if he had one or not, or had stolen anything. The point of the matter is, legally, the guy was in the right, in CA he was under no obligation to show a receipt. I sat there watching out of morbid curiosity for the longest time. Police eventually responded and cleared things up, turns out he had a receipt, and refused on principal.

So I got to thinking, what are all the things we don't have to do, yet we do, of similar nature. Turns out there's a lot. Two examples:

Gas Pumps in CA - Require billing zipcode (which in this state cannot be required to complete a transaction)

Showing ID with a Visa/Mastercard. Apparently that's banned too (by visa!), they have to just match signatures...

Inevitably, it got to well, we accept airport security. (Granted I think it's security theater, but that's a whole different post) It's not a grope, it's a freedom pat.

This led me to thinking: "Okay, so they can't do any of this, but how much am I really put out by it, and how often is it with good intent?". In most cases, I just don't care, I've nothing to hide. Frankly, as a motorcyclist and walker, I accept that most places I go with a backpack, people are going to want to search it for contraband. Yea, I would be insulted if someone inspected it thinking I stole something. I understand WHY they might, but I might make a commentary on that one. In that context I kind of understood why he made such a big deal of the receipt, and sure, it's insulting to be accused of theft, but to make a big deal of it, and waste so much time? Seriously it's not worth it.

Continuing Adventures in Car-Less-Ness

Okay, So I still don't regret the decision to be without a car. Really I can count on one hand the things that bug me about it, and every single one leaves ZipCar as an acceptable solution.

Probably one of the biggest perks of being without car, is it keeps me "honest", I resist impulse buys at the market due to space bringing things back, I make smaller, more compact, more healthy meals for the same reasoning. I like walking places to begin with. The mall is a good 20 minute or so walk away, but it just feels better to walk it then drive. Granted, it helps I've met someone recently who lives nearby and also enjoys walking places. Good company goes a long way into making the outdoors even more enjoyable!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

On Not Being Mechanical

I'll be the first to admit, I was not born the most mechanically inclined child, I'd go so far as to say I was completely incapable of it. For the longest time, I used to envy my friends, and especially my father for the ability to just do things. My father was always the sort who really could do just about anything presented to him, being mechanical, plumbing, renovation, sales, well, whatever. A trait I admire, greatly due to self sufficiency.

Consequently, as I've gotten older. I've often found myself learning by doing. When I was 18, I couldn't have told you how to add coolant to my car, let alone change its oil. Now, if not for the internet, I'm sure i'd be lost and clueless about many things. But between youtube and, try it and see, I've slowly gained it. Today I replaced the full exhaust system, and EFI on my Yamaha. It felt awesome riding it after that, it feels more awesome being self sufficient, when just 5 years ago, I'd have paid someone 500 to do that same task. And what's more? I find it fun. Five hours ago my the 6 was in 8 pieces, now, its returned, and so much more mine.

I'll leave that as my closing thought, when you do things for yourself, and do your own upgrades. It's so much worth it, the sense of ownership is awesome.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Debug Builds

I've found with many projects I work on. The closer it gets to the end, the less useful "Debug" builds are. You always end up working in some sort of Release-UnOpt  build.

I'm sitting here now, and running a debug build in a frame rate I can only describe as "Slide Show". Granted, for what I'm testing my frame rate is largely irrelevant. I recall on Dead Space, debug wouldn't even fit in console Debug RAM. This raises an interesting question, why is it as developers we add debug spew/info/etc until we make the debug build, we are trying so hard to make usable, completely unusable?

I once heard a quote: no Engineer in good conscience, would write a DestroyBaghdad() method, instead, they would write a DestroyCity() method, of which Baghdad would be a parameter. I suspect the debug spew we leave behind is similar, we just assume what the next one will need. Call it a new flavor on the Speculative Generality code smell. We preempt our following engineers, to our eventual deficit. Debug death by a thousand cuts.

Getting Healthy

So, I post horrifically infrequently. Yay crunch. I have however, decided complements inspiration from my sister, to get healthier. (I realize it's almost Oxymoronic that I post this while working at 11pm)

Eating Healthy, Living Healthy, I've even added Run Keeper to my twitter feed to keep me accountable. (

If I can be half as prolific on the posts, or half as dedicated as my sister, I'll be doing good. This includes setting aside a portion of my budget to join our local boot camp.

On that note, I'll shamelessly promote my sister's blog roll: