Monday, 31 July 2006

Roberts edges out Sparrow in poll

The Dread Pirate Roberts edged out Captain Jack Sparrow by a mere ±300 votes in a recent /. poll.

The Yer Favorite Pirate, Mate? poll dropped from the /. homepage on 7/25/2006 with Roberts and Sparrow commanding a 66% share of all votes, splitting the share equally. A statistical tie, and considering the unscientific nature of /. polls, maybe just that, a tie. Other real and fictional pirates split the remaining 34% of the voting.

Dread Pirate Roberts shows strong staying power in the popular mind, having been introduced to the movie going public nearly twenty years ago in The Princess Bride (now out on DVD). Played by Cary Elwes, the Dread Pirate Roberts is the embodiment of a swashbuckling romantic hero pursuing true love.

Captain Jack Sparrow made an explosive debut in 2003 to the field of movie pirates in Pirates of the Carribean:Curse of the Black Pearl. Played by Johnny Depp, Sparrow's name recognition is not to be  dismissed, and the recent sequels will surely pen his name to favorite pirate lists for decades to come.

Other pirates, real or imagined, participating in the /. poll were Blackbeard (Edward Teach), Anne Bonny, Sir Francis Drake, Captain Kidd, and perennial poll favorite, PirateBoyNeal (aka Cowboy Neal).

Posted by caffeinated at 2:51 PM in Bohemian Breakfast

Friday, 28 July 2006


I've talked about my boostful, and a bit exaggeratory, neighbor I go again.

The power went out during a thunderstorm about 11:40 p.m. last night. No biggie, I've been in power outages before. But recent news hype, add a dash of left over hurricane hysteria, and you have the setup for the scene my wife enters (power now being out for little more than 7 hours).

My wife reports that the neighbor, his wife, and kids are packing bags and coolers into the SUV and departing for the weekend to hole up at the in-laws. "blah blah...talked to power company...blah blah...," he comes over to say. "We're low priority. I think you should expect 3 days before we get power back. If you have some where to go, you should."

Power was restored at 11 a.m.

Whatever. Enjoy the company of your in-laws, neighbor.

Posted by caffeinated at 1:21 PM in kaffehaus

Wednesday, 26 July 2006

If my life was a movie

...then lunch yesterday foreshadowed my evening at home.

My coworkers discussed their collective experiences owning and caring for pet rabbits.

My 3½ y.o. daughter promptly told me, on arriving home, “I want a bunny.” I believe this was rehearsed by my daughter and wife, though it was very convincing.

My daughter saw some show rabbits at the county fair, and my wife tells me they are very irresistible. We are weighing any decision in light of owning two cats—indoor cats mind you, but they play outside regularly—that are very likely rabbit killers in their spare time.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:12 PM in kaffehaus

Tuesday, 18 July 2006

iLife '06

At the moment the installer is running for iLife ’06.

Not to worry, you won’t be subjected to my voice or visage in a podcast, though the box really pushes those integrated features that make it possible to produce such content with ease.

Picked this upgrade up to really use some of the new iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD features. Maybe play with iWeb a bit, though its lack luster reviews seem to soften that need, not dismissing the fact that the upload features really need a .Mac account apparently.

Posted by caffeinated at 7:59 PM in the mac bloc

Monday, 17 July 2006

d20 category added

Now, among the many other distractions from the original intention of this blog, and other more important things, is “d20,” a meandering dialogue about RPGs in my orbit.

Whether specific to Warhammer FRP, or a vent about the shortcomings of the MMORPG du jour, be sure to ignore this feed.

I suppose “d20” is not so apropos to WFRP, a d20 tends to invoke images of AD&D. But that’s what I was after, something iconic of PnP gaming; nothing does that like the twenty-sided die.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:39 AM in d10

Saturday, 15 July 2006

Some thoughts on MMORPGs v. PnP

A coworker and I were discussing the attraction of any given MMORPG, e.g., World of Warcraft. We were in agreement on all points.

I have written in the past that MMORPGs are peripherally attractive as a PnP RPG gamer (if only at heart). But our conversation truly helped my define why today’s MMORPGs are not that attractive: MMORPGs tend only to be graphical MUDs, lack any character development, become level engines, provide just enough story for the game setting, and are mostly populated by punks.

On the latter point, as a newcomer to any given MMORPG, you will likely be greeted not by a player in character, but the punk at the keyboard at the other end of the connection, “Hey, n00b!” I cite too the ongoing love affair with punk guilds that enjoy hunting down the Penny Arcade creators, then “blogging” about it with screen shots. That is not character development, but gang behavior. And is but one example I am sure of many, if less well-known, thug-like behaviors in MMORPGs.

PnP gamers, by and large, enjoy the settings of the games they play, in their imaginations, and further enjoy the characters they develop. Games can become level engines or worse, depending on the referee you play with, but PnP gamers will seek out, or nurture, good referees. MMORPGs lack this at the very heart, the mechanical, computerized game engine does not a good referee make. And most MMORPG game play tends to become rote, if graphical, efforts of “go to this area, kill everything, take teasure, level up, lather, rinse, repeat.”

For these, and other, reasons I have not joined the legions of MMORPG players. Instead my coworker and I have begun forming a player group for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, truly one of the best PnP RPGs developed in the last twenty years.

Maybe I’ll blog on this effort as it develops. Maybe drag some MMORPG players from their keyboards with the curiousity about the world outside their homes/offices/basements and this thing called a “d20.” along with it.

Posted by caffeinated at 3:29 PM in Bohemian Breakfast

Friday, 14 July 2006

What became of the disk drive?

Yikes. I got a call this morning from my mother needing PC support (every geek reading this gets a call from their mother needing PC support, that is if there mother is not a geek).

“Your grandfather needs to get a file to a friend. He was going to put it on disk, but I don’t know how to do that. Can I just email it to his friend?”

Wha? She doesn't know how to put a file on a disk, floppy or otherwise? Is she leading the pack, knowing something I don’t know about the floppy or CD or DVD? Are they obsolete, replaced entirely by the network, right here, right now?

Or is it more about an unfamiliarity with the various ports, slots and trays of the PC or the operating system? I don’t know. But I was left stunned that this most basic PC operation, putting a file on a disk for transport on the sneakernet, was unfamiliar to my mother. Or that it could be unfamiliar to anyone that has owned a PC in the last 20 years and used it with any regularity.

Posted by caffeinated at 5:02 PM in 0xDECAF

Vote Dread Pirate Roberts for Favorite Pirate

The “Dread Pirate Roberts” holds a slim lead on /. for Favorite Pirate.

I blave not!1 Don’t vote and the Dread Pirate Roberts will most likely kill you in the morning!

meta-footnote-1=blave, v., To bluff, to lie, to blave. Not to be confused with True Love
Posted by caffeinated at 9:39 AM in Bohemian Breakfast

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Belated thoughts for the blog

LiveJournal sucks. No support for trackbacks or pingbacks. With the LJ acquisition by Six Apart, I don’t expect it too either. LiveJournal is, or will be, “plateaued”--is that even a word? I like it though, very geek. Pissed off because others want to ask the same WTF? with snip snip. sip sip.

Nine Inch Nails never got better than Pretty Hate Machine. Or should I say, "Trent Reznor never got better than Pretty Hate Machine." Yeah PHM was a studio demo, but damn, what a debut.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:36 AM in kaffehaus

Friday, 7 July 2006

Some random thoughts on oscommerce

oscommerce is a good product. But it lacks much of, in this developer’s opinion, what I expect in so many other open source projects I work with. I just found the SVN server for the source, so I can’t complain about a lack of version control.

Possibly, my biggest issue is, many, if not nearly all, contributions or extensions to oscommerce are delivered as hacks of some sort on top of the code base, albeit all of it cobbled together by knowledgeable people. Where are the code nazis making sure that contributions meet defined standards and that contribution patches or diffs are available?

Also, the forum model of community support sucks ass. It lacks the, in my opinion again, the more structured wiki model. For any given contribution, finding an answer to a question is pure torture, combing through endless pages of multiple copies of the same question, answered by different people with different attacks, or worse with back references to previous answers in quote after nested quote. Ugh! I can’t get the thought of suck ass forum-based support scrubbed from my mind. Contribution developers should have access to a wiki damnit.

Generally, I see the problem with most PHP based projects, maybe most scripting language projects, is a lack of pragmatic development experience. I’ll give the Ruby on Rails guys some credit, maybe they can fix whats wrong with a lot of PHP developers and impart some good development habits to them (as I’m told by some RoR zealots that a lot of new comers to RoR are those abandoning PHP).

I find OSC’s PayPal integration very good. Just dropped PayPal IPN into a store I put online for a co-worker/friend (made some change along the way too).

PayPal’s Development Sandbox is very solid. Kudos to the PayPal/eBay folks for that tool. Though the Google Checkout options are looking as strong.

And that concludes my first July post.

Posted by caffeinated at 11:46 PM in kaffehaus