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iPad Review: Rebuild

23 March 2012

You’ve managed to reach the city of Baltimore/Tucson/Yourtownville, where you’ve hooked up with a small team of survivors. They’ve fortified four blocks. A suburb, an apartment, a police station, and a farm. Some of your camp-mates are fighters, some are builders, some are scavengers, leaders, or scientists. The undead are everywhere. You can only survive if you can Rebuild.

I’ll save you a lot of time if you’re in a hurry. Rebuild is a fantastic game and you should play it. There are links to various versions at the bottom of this post, one is even free. (more…)

Until Forgiveness Comes

15 September 2011

Just taking a moment to share a beautiful and brilliant bit of fiction from K Tempest Bradford.

Until Forgiveness Comes is up on Strange Horizons, and it’s a very good short story about the anniversary of 9/11. A lot of 9/11 fiction (both pro and con) tends to descend into bombast and political screeds.

In the years following 9/11, consideration of the event has basically fallen into two camps:

  1. 9/11 was an unimaginable tragedy and the changes to our nation a needed sacrifice.
  2. 9/11 was a horrible event made even more horrible because it’s become a political crowbar to separate us from what makes us american.
You can probably guess from my wording which side I’m on, but regardless of sides, Tempest uses SF to it’s best ability in Until Forgiveness Comes. She puts a human face on what (for most of us) has become an abstract event, and reminds us that regardless of politics, true tragedy is always human.

Oh god we’re all going to die! …. oooor not?

9 September 2011

So, there’s national news floating around about a “specific, credible but unconfirmed” terrorist threat against the US, scheduled to coincide with the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.

I found out about it this morning, when my significant other received several very urgent text messages regarding her safety. “Avoid bridges and tunnels”, she was told. She didn’t think much of it, and neither did I. We live in DC, these kinds of rumors crop up… well basically all the time.

Then, while at work, I get a charming email from security regarding the threat. It’s so thick with terminology that the words themselves could probably be used as load bearing devices. I was treated to some truly lovely bits of doublespeak. Lets go over some examples: (more…)

All that is old is new again

8 September 2011

It’s 2011 [2000], and I have to admit that I’m a bit giddy. It’s a childish reaction for a 30 [19] year old, but I haven’t seen a game with this much potential since the first Deus Ex [System Shock 2]. Finally, a game that offers real freedom to choose our own path through a complex and very dark world. (more…)

My leg is full of holes… (Part 1)

17 June 2011

and I’m very happy about it.

So I’ve been failing at keeping everyone up to date on what’s going on with me. Lots of small references to my legs/feet, doctor visits, and surgery. I figure it’s high time I filled everyone in on what exactly is going on.

First, what’s wrong:
I have a vascular disease known as Chronic Venous Insufficiency. I’ve known about the basic shape of this problem for about 10 years: Vein troubles, inherited from my dad, bad circulation, causes varicose veins and ulcers (foot injuries, not stomach discomfort).

Second, what happened:
Last week, one of the damaged veins in my leg decided it was time to give up and just let nature take it’s course. The longstanding discoloration in my foot went ulcerous. In other words, the bruise I’ve had for years turned into a very big scrape. I stalled on going to a doctor. It’s broken before and healed, so I was under-motivated.

After a few days of it getting a lot worse instead of better, I realized it was time to bite the bullet and get this looked at. I called my Father, who has what I deduced was the same condition I have. He pointed me at some specialists who know how to fix this sort of thing.

They took a look, and to no one’s surprise, confirmed that I have a nasty condition that I’ve ignored for too long. They scheduled me for surgery ASAP. The surgery is minor. Ambulatory surgery with local anesthetic, but they wanted it done as soon as they could.

A few questions about selling stuff to geeks.

9 June 2011

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Beauty that wealth alone can summon.

20 April 2011

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Dropbox is getting called to task

19 April 2011

I adore Dropbox and use it heavily. However, I knew the day would come where we’d have to deal with the uglier side of our lovely little digital cloud. Miguel de Icaza has called Dropbox to task over their disingenuous statements regarding file security. Basically, Dropbox promised us that our files were safe from prying eyes, only to later admit that they’d allow the government to pry whenever it sees fit.

This isn’t simply a question of a company kowtowing to security-state scare tactics, it’s also a question of bad security engineering. Basically, if Dropbox can show your files to the FBI without asking, then they can show those same files to ANYONE without asking. Regardless of what security claims Dropbox may have made, it’s clear that your dropbox is basically public data.

Being the all around paranoid I am, I’ve always treated my dropbox as basically public. I’ve never put something up there that I couldn’t afford to lose to the wilds of the internet. That said, it’s still very disappointing to see their grand security claims come up as no more than smoke and mirrors.

Oh right, it’s almost May…

18 April 2011

This is a post about my birthday. If you do not know me in person, you can safely ignore this post. If you know me in person, you can safely ignore this post must pay attention.

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This is why I still read Penny Arcade

1 April 2011

Credit where credit is due. You’d think with all my complaining that I should just ditch my PA feeds in favor of greener pastures. I don’t. A cynic might say that I’m basically trolling, that I’m looking for opportunities to complain about an entity that neither cares for my existence nor is admonished by my criticism.

Looking for opportunities to complain isn’t why I still read PA. I read them for posts like the one made today. This is the PA I remember. Staunch critic of the stupidity within our subculture, capable of turning it’s hyperbolic and dangerous wit on any target within gaming’s sphere. Publishers, developers, retailers… and yes, homophobic fans.

I read PA because, for all the times they mock women and scoff at women’s issues, they still get it right from time to time. Maybe because the complaint is about homophobia? I wonder if we’d see a strong condemnation of bioware if a feminist were to point out sexisim in DA2 instead?

No. I won’t wonder that. One of the easiest mistakes to make in situations like this is to play the classic “Zero sum game”. The victories of one minority aren’t competing with the victories of others. We can all win here. We can all get better games if we keep advocating for entertainment that everyone can enjoy.

It pays to remind myself, I wouldn’t complain about PA half so much if  they weren’t half so clever. Well said Tycho.

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