Showing posts from March, 2011

Game Design

I enjoy both MMORPGs and individual games. One thing I've noticed over the years with MMORPGs in particular, but any game that involves your character "leveling up" and getting stronger as the game goes on is that game designers make it harder to use the interface by providing too many powers.

I regularly play Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO), City of Heroes (COH, not to be confused with Call of Heroes which sometimes uses the same acronym), and Champions Online (CO). I occasionally play Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO). I recently was in the closed and open beta for DC Universe Online (DCUO), and, while I commented at the time at how awkward the PC interface for DCUO was, one thing they did well was that many of the choices you had during level-up actually made existing powers better rather than providing a new power.

I have four 10-slot power bars, mostly full, up when I play LOTRO. On CO, I have three bars, with one completely full. In COH I have, on the average ch…

What a Wonderful World

I wonder sometimes what would change in America if the news reported good things, if politicians told the truth and actually worked for the betterment of the nation and its people, and if the public at large heard a consistent, positive message about the country.

The closest analogy I can draw would be to Reagan's first term in office. The late '70s were a time of upheaval and grim news. America was down on America, and the world seemed poised to rip it to shreds globally. The economy was in a tailspin, gas prices and housing prices were through the roof, and America was struggling with its global image, especially in the face of a lot of press concerning the Middle East (including hijackings, military skirmishes, and threats from leaders toward the West). Then along came Reagan, with a hard but humorous stance that America was the best place in the world, we should believe in ourselves, we should buy American, and everything will be all right.

And, you know what? It worked. B…

Don't Let Democracy Slip Through Their Fingers

No democracy has ever survived for long if its people didn't rise up and demand it, which is where the failure occurred in Iraq. We went in there and gave them democracy when they, themselves, weren't demanding it and fighting for it.

However, many nations of the middle East are now fighting for democracy. Libya, Yemeni, Bahrain, and other locations have people fighting, and dying, in their streets wanting freedom and an end to totalitarian regimes.

And we, the shining light of democracy, sit and do next to nothing.

We should be flying overhead and dropping food, weapons, and pamphlets to the embattled people fighting for a change in government and for their lives. We should be offering to send in people to train them in guerrilla warfare and how to set up and maintain a democratic government. We should be poised to swoop in with advisers who can help them transition to a free-market economy.

Yet, we sit and do next to nothing.

Bush forced democracy on people who were not yet …

No Rest for the Wicked

It is funny how quickly the relaxation of a vacation can be sucked out of you. Normally when I go on vacation I try to schedule the next day off as a travel-recovery day before I have to do anything important (like work). This year, it simply did not work out that way.

We got home and I was in bed on Tuesday night (3/15) (well, really, as it was after midnight, Wednesday morning) by 1am with my alarm set for 7am. After four planes and 20 hours of travel, that 7am wake-up call came very early indeed!

I quickly realized my brain was not good for much, and I rescheduled my meeting to the next day and used that day to read through the emails and try to get back up to speed on where I was and what I was doing with the project, and what was needed.

Thursday I then had my two meetings, learning of the due dates that they continue to promise the end-user without consulting me and discovered that I did not have much time to hit any of the three upcoming deadlines. Then, on Friday, I only worke…


Vacation got off to a poor start, as you can read in the previous post. In addition to that, the first house we were put in was within maybe 500 yards of the local dump, so the outside smelled pretty bad. When we were inside the house, we noticed an additional smell which gave me a headache and put off my wife. We had to stay the night (having arrived after midnight), but additional issues we found that night and upon waking (broken closet doors, stains on the sheets, inadequate supplies, inadequate internet provisions, improperly or inadequately cleaned bathrooms, etc.) had us contacting the housing broker and getting moved from that house to a new one. The caveat being that the new house was only available for some of the vacation, and she have to move us again on Friday. Anything was better than staying in a place that literally gave me a splitting headache, let alone smelled so horrible, so we took it.

After that rocky start, the vacation has turned out to be just what the doctor …

US Airways

As any frequent reader of this blog knows, when I travel I have an... interesting... time of it. It is always an adventure, whether (rarely) good or (often) bad.

Yesterday, my wife and I traveled to Orlando. The trip was an adventure. The set path had us flying out of our home airport at 9:40 and arriving 45 minutes later in Halifax. An approximately 7 hour layover there and then we were on the 2 hour flight to our second stop, in Philadelphia. A two hour layover there and we were off to our final destination of Orlando.

The flight out of our home airport was delayed approximately 2.5 hours, departing at about 12:15pm rather than the 9:40am flight time. Since we had the long layover at the next airport, that wasn't so much of an issue. However, there was no notice of it prior to our leaving the house, so we actually sat at the tiny little airport for that entire time.

In Halifax, US Airways announced the next flight was delayed by approximately 1:15. We learned later this was caus…