Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chat test

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Nerd quiz score

I raised my nerd score as well...

I am nerdier than 99% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

Geek score

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Wizard of Speed and Time

OK, I know this isn't really about computer games, but it's interesting enough for me to post. Mike Jittlov has released his classic stop-motion film The Wizard of Speed and Time for free download via BitTorrent. I'm totally psyched about this, and have already burnt my own copy. Check out the details at the Evil Genius Chronicles blog.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Spam

with apologies to E. A. Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious inbox of forgotten mail,
While I nodded, nearly sleeping, suddenly there came a beeping,
As of new mail, quietly creeping, creeping straight across my LAN.
” ‘Tis some friendly greeting,” I hoped, “creeping straight across my LAN;
Only this, and not more spam.”

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
With each separate link light blinking as the somber night began
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books a way to block, to block, I say, the flow of spam,
And let the rare and useful message enter through the flow of spam
Creeping straight across my LAN.

And the strident blinking beeping of this email message creeping
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt by man;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
” ‘’Tis some valid email creeping, seeking solace on my LAN,
Some late message creeping, seeking solace softly on my LAN.
This it is, and not more spam.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“So,” said I, “let’s just see what missive comes across my LAN”;
But the fact is, I was sleeping, and so softly it came creeping
Into my inbox, that I didn’t notice how the words of subject ran,
I did not see, I tell you true, that the subject words were not of man;
Random words, they were — of spam.

Long into the message peering, long I sat there, wondering, fearing
Doubting, dreaming dreams that never should be dreamt by man:
“Grow it longer! Grow it straighter! Don’t be afraid! Don’t be a hater!”;
And the only words there spoken were the tortured ‘Not more spam!’
This I whispered, and in echo murmured back ‘Yes, it’s spam,
Creeping straight across my LAN.’

Back into the aether turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I mailed the spammer, saying ‘Send me no more spam.’
“Surely,” said I, “surely, this will keep my email inbox clear.
Let me see, then, what this mail is, creeping now onto my LAN.
Let my heart be still and see, just what’s this new mail on my LAN?
What the freak!? It’s just more spam.”

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an old condenser
Run by demons whose packets thudded on the network floor.
“Filth,” I cried, “may God have mercy on your soul for this!”
“But I will not!” I yelled. “And I will curse the name of all who spam!
And I will not rest until my inbox has been cleared of all this spam!”
I swore as I watched my LAN.

And the spam-mail, never ceasing, still is creeping, slowly creeping
To my email box, on my server, on my LAN;
And their words have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming.
And the link lights slowly blinking shine their light upon my floor;
And my inbox from out that shadow that comes creeping on my network
Shall be lifted—nevermore!

(cross-posted over at Vintage Computing & Gaming)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

First games

A couple of weeks ago, RedWolf posted a column about the first computer he ever used, and it started me thinking about my specialty: computer games. What was the first computer game, of any sort, that I played? I've spent some time thinking about it and sorting through the memories, and while I haven't quite arrived at a definite answer, the list can be narrowed down to a handful of titles. They may not be the absolute earliest games I ever touched, but these are the ones that drew me into the whole sordid world of being a computer geek.

I could take the easy way out, and claim that The Oregon Trail was it and end the discussion there. The Trail was introduced to my whole generation during the early years of elementary school, while we sat in a library full of Apple ]['s and had a teacher drone on about how to insert a floppy into the drive and close the door. Every school I attended seemed to love having students play it during the "pioneer" section of Social Studies class, but it honestly didn't make a great impression on me. It seemed boring, repetitious, and almost impossible to win. And while I, like all normal kids, enjoyed leaving my path westward littered with dead animals and broken limbs, it wasn't a title I sought out on my own for entertainment. It was too much a part of school work to ever be much of a game.

Continue reading this article at Vintage Computing and Gaming.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Trippy Games

Back in the good old days of computer gaming (we’re talking late-80’s to mid-90’s here, folks), one thing that could be said about the games market is that it was a crap shoot. Before the advent of the Internet, the few dead-tree review magazines couldn’t keep up with the number of newly-released titles, and computer game companies didn’t seem to take advertising very seriously. This meant that the chances of knowing the details of a game before purchasing it were pretty slim. Usually, all a gamer had to go on was the box copy, and whatever word-of-mouth could be picked up while hanging out at the local Babbage’s.

Buying a game could be a gamble, pure and simple. Sure, Origin was a safe bet for action or role-playing, and Sierra was the uncontested king of the adventure genre, but so many smaller companies were trying to make it big that it was impossible to know exactly what would be on the shelf on any given day. Sometimes, a search though the $5 rack would reveal an unlikely-sounding game written by two guys in a smelly basement, only to be unmasked later as a true gem of programming skill. More often, a slick-looking box with beautiful images and promising descriptions would turn out, when unboxed at home, to fall somewhere between maddeningly dull and outright unplayable (I’m looking at you, Rocket Jockey). But rarely, very rarely, a game would crop up that would cause an immediate and almost-universal reaction among gamers: “What were those guys smoking, and where can I get some?”

Continue reading over at Vintage Computing and Gaming.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Political gaming?

Turns out that a possible presidential candidate made an appearance in an online multi-player game. New World Notes (linky) reports that former Governor of Virginia Mark Warner in held a conference in the popular open-source online game Second Life. And while he hasn't announced any plans to run, the gossip is that he's been sending out feelers along those lines.

So what does it mean when a political candidate shows up in an MMO game? Is it just a gimmick, or is it for real? And what are the implications if it is for real?

For one, it means that at least one person on Capitol Hill has come around to the idea of a new form of media, and is reaching out to a demographic that is largely ignored in the political arena. Most often, the only politics these folks get involved in have to do with DRM fights against large corporations. Now, we have what appears to be a good-faith effort on behalf of the politicos to bring them into the fold. But will it be enough to turn these folks to change parties, or even to become merely interested in the process? Or will gamers view it with the cynicism they seem to be born with?

Beyond that, what does this say about a candidate who would use it? Is he outside the 'clique' of politicians? Too modern and new-fangled? Will he be able to maintain the support and respect of the veterans of his field, or will they view it as a simple gimmick as well? Will he be taken seriously by his peers?

One thing I feel is that it is a long-overdue shift. Perhaps the first step will be stumbling, but as a younger generation moves into office, their hobbies and interests will necessarily be reflected in the way they do business. If nothing else, this is a sign that a changing of the guard is in progress, even if it is a slow, step-by-baby-step process. And perhaps, if I put my own cynicism aside for a minute, it can be an effective way to get in touch with a whole demographic that has been raised on-line. Rather than watching TV or listening to the radio for our information, we now get a large percentage from the internet. And if a politician can take advantage of that, he will be well positioned to move forward with the growing young-adult population.