Office Space

All you ever really needed to learn about games you learned in your cube:

You never know where Life will hand you a valuable lesson. It could be that time Ferris Bueller ate pancreas. Maybe it was the Beastie Boys urging you to fight for your right to party. Or maybe it was Bart Simpson never getting suckered into doing any actual work. But when it comes to the world of MMOs, it's hard to beat Office Space:

Lesson 1:
“Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler.”

Staplers are important. That first green sword you got, that first phat purple drop: those things are hard to let go of. Sure, they end up cluttering your bank account, taking valuable space, useless. It's OK.

Lesson 2:
“I do want to express myself, okay. And I don't need 37 pieces of flair to do it.”

By all means, you should express yourself. But do you really need to dye all your Guild Wars armor black? I mean, sure, it's pretty. But maybe you could find something a little more constructive to do?

Lesson 3:
"Sounds like someone's got a case of the Mondays!"

There will be days when the grind is just too much to bear; when you know you should be out there working your Shaman up to 70, but you just... can't... face it. That's when you need to head to Chotchkies and get a cup of coffee. Go someplace that makes you feel happy. Maybe the auction house. Maybe an instance you've long since mastered. Maybe a little one-on-one Dark Age of Camelot dueling. Give up the grind for a day. Tuesday always comes.

Lesson 4:
“We're putting new cover sheets on all the TPS reports before they go out now. So if you could go ahead and try to remember to do that from now on, that'd be great. All right?”

Do not run a guild, or even be in charge of loot distribution on a little random pickup slaughter. If you fail to credit Thorgeir the Destroyer for last night's raid, you know you'll never hear the end of it.

Lesson 5:
“No, not again. I... why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam? I swear to God, one of these days, I just kick this piece of &*^^%# out the window.”

Bad bugs happen to good people, but don't take it out on your computer. Explore some other pointless-yet-satisfying violent crime, like mime-punching.

Lesson 6:
"You haven't been showing up, and you get to keep your job!”
“Actually, I'm being promoted.”

Nerfs come with the territory, but it's a two way street. Sometimes your kick ass Paladin ends up filing paperwork. Other times, you take a week off and come back buffed-up and putting Conan to shame.

Lesson 7:
“We're gonna need to go ahead and move you downstairs into storage B. We have some new people coming in, and we need all the space we can get.”

You joined your server, way back when, because it's where all the cool kids hung out. You never dreamed you'd have to wait in line to play on a Friday night. Now you're sitting there, watching numbers count down, wondering if the raid will start without you. Either suck it up, or move to the basement. Start all over or pay for a server move.

Lesson 8:
“I'll take my traveler's checks to a competing resort. I could write a letter to your board of tourism and I could have this place condemned. I could put ... I could put strychnine in the guacamole.”

Nobody likes a whiner. You know you're not really going to quit and you're not poisoning the nachos. So just stop yammerin' about it.

Pic of the Week 20070629

Methinks I've been a bit lax on keeping up with this. Been busy as all get-out. But here ya go, enjoy:

Do you have a licence for that sporran, sir?

EU to demand Highlander's credentials - taken from TheRegister:

Legislation designed to protect endangered species will require sporran-wearing Scots to be able to prove their fur-pouch was legally killed, according to reports on the BBC.

The rules also apply to items made from other vulnerable animals, including hedgehogs, bats, dolphins and wildcats, though anyone who sports a sporran made of hedgehog skin is probably not attending a Highland Game.
Anyone caught wearing a dress sporran will now have to worry about proving that the animal was killed before 1994, or was legally culled, in addition to dealing with the ridicule such dress inspires outside formal Highland occasions.
In our experience most wearers of the kilt are American tourists, to whom plastic is as good as fur; or locals who went to school with the local police and aren't going to pay any attention to what some sassenach says they should do.

It's all very well for the Scottish Executive to say that illegal fur will be taken from its owner, but anyone who grabs for a Highlander's sporran does so at their own risk.


The Air We Breathe

The following article was copied from CommuterPageBlog, article dated June 24, 2007.

Sunday's Washington Post Commuter Page (Page 2 in the Metro section) had a nice discussion of air quality. I have not been able to find it online; evidently it is only in the print edition.

The most striking visual on the page was a graph that showed the comparative emissions across several types of vehicles. Here are the numbers from the table but without the visual impact of the chart:

Nitrogen Oxide Emissions in grams/mile:
Light-duty hybrid (Prius, Civic hybrid)0.02
Passenger car (Camry, Accord, Malibu)0.10
Light-duty truck 2 (Cherokee, Caravan, Sienna)0.30
Light-duty truck 4 (F-150, Sequoia, Land Rover)0.60
Heavy-duty truck (Hummer, RVs)0.90

That means it would take 5 carpoolers in a regular passenger car before the emissions would be equal to 5 Priuses or 15 passengers in a minivan to equal 15 Civic hybrids. A big SUV emits 30 times as much ozone-causing pollution per mile than a hybrid! A Hummer 45 times as much!

This table makes it clear that increasing the fleet of hybrid vehicles in our area, particularly if they are replacing other vehicles, would make a big dent in our air quality problems. In fact, DC is doing well with hybrid ownership, double the national average (link). Much of this has been driven by the HOV exemption for clean vehicles, prompting some drivers to invest in hybrids in order to be able to drive on the HOV lanes. This year, also, Arlington County has introduced a tax break for people to buy hybrid vehicles.

These seem like good policies as we strive to improve regional air quality. There has been controversy about whether the clean-vehicle exemption for HOV should be terminated. I think this information supports the position to keep it in place, since 3 single-occupant Priuses only emit 60% or less emissions than a car (or worse, an SUV or minivan) with three passengers. Some parties believe the exemption should end, because too many single-occupant vehicles will clog the carpool lanes. I66I will only be convinced after much more aggressive efforts, including much higher fines, are taken to eliminate the HOV violators, who I see all the time on I-66.

Keep in mind that owners of these vehicles are contributing to better air quality with 100% of the miles they drive, even though only 15% - 50% of their driving might be on HOV lanes, so it is in the interest of all who want cleaner air to encourage more purchasing of cleaner cars.

(In the interest of disclosure, I own a Toyota Camry hybrid, but do not have the requisite license plates to drive in the HOV lanes. I also have a personal interest in improving air quality, because my daughter suffers from asthma.)

Global Warming and Mortal Sin

The following article was copied from CommuterPageBlog, article dated June 21, 2007.

I was talking to a good friend about the impact of global warming on the next few generations and he shocked me by saying that he didn't care about what happened to future generations. He told me that global warming did not concern him because he would already be dead of old age when the bad things start to happen. He said he would absolutely not change his driving habits to save people in the near future.

Which brings me to an interesting point. Most believers know about the definition of a mortal sin. A mortal sin is one that is committed with foresight and planning and with willful intention, and that is severe in it's impact on another or others. For example, if a person plans to murder somebody and then carries it out, that is definitely a mortal sin. It means that person's chance of entering heaven in order to be with God are just about zero.

Now here is something that I have never heard any believer talk about: the concept of deliberately and with willful determination, seeking out to harm people of future generations with our actions of today. If a person is now actively seeking to cause global warming by their own personal actions, then that person will be guilty of willfully harming or even killing people in the not very distant future, even if that person is already dead. The reason this is so is because we have knowledge of our actions. If we did not have knowledge of our actions it would not be the same category of sin.

Past generations could not do the things to future generations that we are now capable of doing, because they lacked the technical ability to do so. We are in a very strange position. We, us, you and I, right now, are responsible for the very lives of near future generations. In other words, we have the power to kill those who are yet to be born. This is a very serious moral dilemma and is of deadly earnest.

If a person believes in the concept of eternal life and access to the kingdom of heaven, then that person must head the warnings which the vast majority of scientists are giving us now about our responsibilities for saving future life. This is no joking matter. If we choose to keep driving huge trucks to work and hundreds of thousands of people, for example, in Bangladesh die because of rising sea levels, which we caused by our deliberate actions, then we are one hundred percent responsible for their deaths. This means that we most likely will never enter the kindgom of heaven.

It is the moral responsibility of any believer to start fixing the current situation and with real actions, too. What can we do? Well for starters, we can drive to work with one other person. It's called compromising in order to save others. We must at least show that we are making an effort. If we do not make an effort then we will be found guilty. It really is that simple.


Six Multi-Service IM Clients Reviewed

From Slashdot on 2007.06.08 19:39
It's been a while since AOL stopped trying to jam third-party IM clients, and their use is now a fairly common desktop experience. ExtremeTech has posted a roundup of free alternatives to the standard IM software from the big boys - AIM, Yahoo Messenger, and MSN (now Windows Live) Messenger. The products are a mixed bag, some of them Web 2.0-based, like the excellent meebo and the ad-heavy eBuddy. Most give you combined message windows with tabs. GAIM is now Pidgin, Meetro tries to get you chatting with locals, and Trillian, now at version 3.1, remains the client to beat.
I'm a big Trillian fan myself. If only there was a Linux client, I'd be deleriously happy with it, but I just end up using GAIM, er, Pidgin, on Linux.

Chairbot Walks You Around While You Sit

This rocks. Check it out, from Slashdot a couple weeks ago:
What do you get when you combine a robot and a chair? The Hubo FX-1 chairbot, of course. In what is perhaps my favorite robot design yet, this giant chair with legs looks like it came out of some ridiculous 80's sci-fi movie or something, but it's very, very real. HUBO FX-1 is two meters in height, and weighs 150 kg. The person sitting can control the robot easily using the built in joystick. Each ankle has a 3-axis force/torque sensor which measures the normal force and 2 moments. Each foot has an inclination sensor which measures the angle of the slope. Also, the rate gyro and the inclination sensor of the body allow the device to stabilize itself.
Check out the video:
From the article itself:
Military is also one of its future applications may be in a decade or so it will be running on fuel cells with a soldier mounted on firing rpg's and chain guns.
Are we ready for the Battlemechs? W00t!


After Ubuntu, Windows Looks Increasingly Bad

Sys-Con has a look at some advantages of using Ubuntu over Windows. 'My recent switch to a single-boot Ubuntu setup on my Thinkpad T60 simply floors me on a regular basis. Most recently it's had to do with the experience of maintaining the software. Fresh from a very long Windows 2000 experience and a four-month Windows XP experience along with a long-time Linux sys admin role puts me in a great position to assess Ubuntu. Three prior attempts over the years at using Linux as my daily desktop OS had me primed for failure. Well, Ubuntu takes Linux where I've long hoped it would go — easy to use, reliable, dependable, great applications too but more on that later. It has some elegance to it — bet you never heard that about a Linux desktop before.' (Taken from Slashdot back on June 6th.)

5 Reasons Not to Complain About Your Job

Usually I tend to ignore the chain letters such as this that come across my inbox. Well, except if they're from my Mom. (Hi Mom!) Anyways, got this at work of all places, which made it twice as annoying, yet it still gave me a chuckle. So here ya go, "5 Reasons Not to Complain About Your Job" (click on the pics for a better resolution):

Learn to Play

From the creators of MC Raiders come their newest creation, Learn to Play.


On a Winning Strategy

A Modern Parable

A Japanese automotive company and an American automotive company decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager. They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the "Rowing Team Quality First Program", with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was outsourced to India.

The End.


Pic of the Week 20070608

Don't have much time to blog this week, but I shal at the least get a Pic of the Week in. So here ya go.


Encrypt and Sign Gmail messages with FireGPG

Linux.com (Same owners as Slashdot) has a story up about FireGPG:
Gmail may be an excellent Web-based email application, but there is no easy way to use it with privacy tools like GnuPG. The FireGPG extension for Firefox is designed to solve this problem. It integrates nicely into Gmail's interface and allows you to sign and encrypt not only email messages but also text snippets from any Web page.
Looks like another fun extension to play with... I haven't used GPG in awhile, I'd have to dig up my keys from wherever I stored them...


Pic of the Week 20070601

Welcome to June.

God bless ya, Steve.

The Unsung Heroes of Star Wars

Been a busy week, and I've got some catching up to do. So let's get started.

Linked to from a post on Gamers With Jobs, here's a particularly funny gag on Maxim.