Archive for October, 2006

10.31.06

Moving again

Posted in General at 1:48 pm by jw

Well, our six months in California are up.  The movers have come and cleaned out our hotel room and I’m on my last day at work in the SJ office.  Been a good half year both at work, where I met a bunch of new people and shared a whole lot of information about our work in Pittsburgh and the company in general, and at home where we got to see lots more friends and lots more of the US than we really expected to!

Next few weeks have us off to Vegas where we get 2 weeks to look around the area, then off to our new apartment in Cranberry PA until we find the house we want to buy.  Still looking…

10.23.06

Games – Defcon, DoW, FSX, Railroads

Posted in General at 3:17 pm by jw

Got some new games to mess around on recently – here’s some quick reviews on my take:

Defcon

A very fun little game.  If you remember back to the movie “wargames”, this is the actual computer game that really should go with the movie.  You start with a clock ticking down as you place missile silos, airfields and fleets as you try to outthink your possible 5 other opponents who are all doing the same thing.  The goal is to lose less badly than everyone else does but it’s got levels of strategy that aren’t really apparent until you’ve run through it a few times.  It’s a good little distraction and well worth the rather small price for the instant download on Steam.

Dawn of War

Even though I’m not a huge fan of RTS, I still find this game rather entertaining – entertaining enough at least to buy the original, Winter Assault and Dark Crusade expansions.  The first two are pretty standard as far as RTS go, with less of an imperative for micromanagement and more just on group tactics and gameplay (at least in the way I tend to play it).  I’ve descended to the Imperial Guard as my favorite team now, mainly for the crazy Zerg tactics you can employ and there’s nothing quite like watching your zillion troops decimate stuff from range.

The Dark Crusade expansion (not really an expansion because it’s standalone) deserves special mention as the entire single player campaign takes place on a world map where no particular background plotline is set – instead you are just battling all the other factions in a turn based playoff for territories that you can attack or defend as the game progresses.  More land gives you more goodies to play with and I’m told the enemy bases are insanely hard to take out – still buiding my forces to try that one out.

Flight Simulator X

I love this game.  It’s a brilliant upgrade from Flight Simulator 2004 in many ways.  First and foremost, it’s a stunning visual upgrade with a full DX9/DX10 engine sitting underneath it (can’t wait to see this on Vista) – the water sparkles, trees look amazingly real, planes, trains, cars, yachts, birds and other animals are all over the place.  Next, it provides a mission engine that takes you out of the free-play “what-do-I-do-next” mode and gives you tasks to play with when you need an answer to that question.  I’m still finding the helicopter missions difficult – stupid unstable machines just like pitching into the ground too much for my liking.  Third, the ultralight is a lot of fun and lastly you don’t need to have your original DVDs in the drive to play (which I love because I hate having my original discs out all the time), but you pay for it with the standard Windows Activation junk.

The Deluxe edition is well worth the extra cash – more missions, more planes and the ability to use add-ons.

Railroads

The disappointment of the bunch.  I was a great fan of the Railroad Tycoon series, enjoying the deep complexity that underpinned what seemed a simple task of laying track around the place and building trains to put on them.  The fact that you had to may attention to where a vast array of resources were coming from and going to made things very interesting – especially when you had to route trains halfway across the map to deliver that important money earner.  Railroads does away with the deep complexity and just leaves the task of laying track around the place.  There’s still a hint of what was complexity, but the maps seem much more cartoonish, there’s only a dozen or so resources with a minimal industrial production tree and things overall seem simplified to the point of losing the original feeling of mastery of a truly complex problem.  I’ve only played the first few missions, but I can’t in good faith recommend this over Railroad Tycoon 3 at the moment.

10.09.06

Bad Code

Posted in Shorts at 6:44 pm by jw

Thanks to Kevin,

if (person = terrorist) {
     punish_severely();
} else {
     exit(-1);
}

If you can spot the error, you know what’s wrong with the new terrorist arrest/detainment/torture law.

10.04.06

What I learned from the Westboro Baptist Church

Posted in Shorts at 4:30 pm by jw

Apparently, God kills innocent Amish children as vengence against a State’s Governor.

Yes – you read that right. Here’s their flyer that they spread around. Honestly, it makes me sick to see people like this call themselves “Christian”, because there is so many anti-christian messages on that flyer that I lost count before even getting half way through it.

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