Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I finished reading Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker last night. Stayed up WAY too late, and also didn't sleep on the van coming or going to/from work yesterday in favor of reading it instead. As a result, I'm dog tired here, but it was worth it.

How's that for a crappy review? ;-)

One of my aunts died of cancer this week. Her funeral is on Friday about a 3 hour drive away. We've decided to leave early Friday morning and then spend the night there, then return on Saturday, though in theory we could go up for the funeral, visit with family for a couple of hours and come back the same day. Or we could go about 2 hours farther along to my family's cabin. We could, that is, if my cousin weren't getting married today and he and his new bride are using the cabin for their honeymoon (other side of family from the aunt who died). That could be a tad bit awkward. As it is, reception for him tonight, packing for the trip tomorrow night, and then a weekend in Idaho. Not the original plan, but... life throws curveballs.

Today's computer story is that a lady called with a laundry list of everything that's been wrong with her computer over hte last few days, though she's not currently having any trouble. The list was every email, print server, and network outage we've had all week so far. Since she's not having trouble now, why'd she call? Who knows?

Okay, one more. We finally pushed out Adobe Reader 9 since it's been approved by the higher-ups as safe for our network. As a result, anyone using it today gets a new EULA screen they have to click accept on. Had a lady call asking us to complete the installation with our admin rights. Is it REALLY so hard to read what the screen says?

That's almost as bad as a person at a former job who called, said her computer was giving her "some error" and when I asked her to read it to me, she read the 1st sentence, then started saying "blah blah blah blah blah." I asked her to actually READ the error and not give me her commentary on what it meant to her (yeah, I could be blunt with users) and so she read a 2nd sentence and again started wit hthe "blah blahs." So I very succinctly told her that while I'm aware the error means nothing to her, it means something to me and tells me exactly what's wrong and enables me to fix her pc. Even with that, it still took nearly 5 minutes to get her to actually read the thing to me. Quick google search and about 2 minutes later she was up and running again.

Help me, help you. If you want me to remote in to your pc in order to install something with my admin rights, I need your computer name. Have it ready when you call. And don't touch anything you don't need to. I run my pc at home very clean -- no bloatware. It never has ANY trouble, yet invariably if a family member is visiting and asks if s/he can check her email, within 5 minutes I'm being told that my computer either doesn't work right or is broken. And then after the visit is over I get to go uninstall all the stinking toolbars, messenger services, and other tsr's they installed in their 20 minutes of computer use. And don't get me started on the time one of them filled my hard drive with about 400 massively oversized pictures from her camera that she uploaded without asking if she could or even telling me about them -- I found them after she left and was looking around for why my performance had degraded so badly.

Yeah, I deleted them. And 6 weeks later I got a phone call asking if I could email them to her. I told her that they didn't exist anymore and if she wanted me to keep them for her she should have told me what she was using my computer for. I would have gladly burned them on a dvd for her before I deleted them, but since they were just kinda sitting there, I'd assumed she'd only uploaded them in order to view them, and that it hadn't occurred to me she'd been cleaning space on her camera.

Anyway, I'm just rambling now. I've been imaging old old old boxes for another department that wants to have some machines available for people to check their email on, and since we are now mandated that anything we image must use Vista with the current security protocols, well... let's just say it's slooooooooooow, and 1 box was simply too old. It wouldn't take Vista. The 2 HP boxes weren't terrible on their speed, though they were so dusty before I blew them out that it's a wonder they hadn't caught on fire. The Dell I'm working on right now has decent-ish specs, but it's still taking forever to do any of the commands I enter. Ah well, it's just an email machine, right? Still and all... 1 more box to go, but while I can get it started tonight since this one i'm working on is about 98% done, I doubt I'll finish the last one. Such is life.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy Monday!

Print server's down again, people with Vista machines can't access certain parts of the LAN, people still like to create new pst files for Outlook and then call to complain that "none of my email is in it" making it so I get to go search their hard drives and personal network shares for the actual pst they wanted to connect to. . . .

Another typical day at work ;)

Weekend was pretty good. Had a BBQ at my sister's place Friday evening, my daughter got back from Girl Scout camp on Saturday, started reading Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker and it's pretty good so far. Maybe not as good as Mistborn, but still quite engaging.

Saw G-Force over the weekend also. The kids loved it, and I thought it was fun enough as a diversion fora couple of hours. We also rented a few dvd's -- Inkheart, City of Ember, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. The kids loved them all, but I'll admit I fell asleep during Ember and wasn't in the room when they watched Inkheart.

So, there are the movie reviews from my perspective ;-)

On the gaming front, I managed to run a few quests on the dirge in Fens, but not many... not even enough to gain an AA point. I think I got maybe 10% of an adventure level was all.

I did WC4 in EVE, though. Easy peasy once you know the aggro mechanics. Got the lovely bounties and filled the Salvacane up, in spite of accidentally deleting the bookmark for the final room. all those BS wrecks. . gone. . . :-( Even so.. full hold in the 'Cane, good salvage and over 20 million isk in bounties. Practiced scanning a bit more, but I'm still not very good at it. It will come, though. as it is -- 38 more hours and I'm "done" with all the training I want to do in the Electronics skill section. It'll be close to 5.2 million SP in the section, so I've done quite a bit of training there, but it will be worth it down the line, methinks.

Next section on the chopping block is Engineering. It will take about 6 weeks, but that's mostly due to actually training a bunch of skills to 5. Or I could finish getting all my currently known Spaceship Command skills up to 4, but that will take the same 6 weeks, and only be marginal upgrade in capability of a few ships that I don't fly often, so... less worth it. I could also look at command ships, but I'm 72+ days out of any of them. Oddly enough, that's about as far as I was back when I 1st started thinking it might be nice to fly one. I've taken maybe 20 days off the total, but focused a lot more on general support skills useful to any ship I will fly. Or I could spend a little over 4 weeks getting the last of my "base" weapon certifitcates to "Standard" also.

So much to do, and it takes so long to train. . . .

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just reboot already!!!

We got a new manager today. There was some sort of ceremony to "pass the torch" but I didn't go. And I was just about the only guy on the help desk who didn't go, but a lot of non-helpdesk people didn't go either, so I got a lot of calls during that hour. Sadly, most calls were unrelated to computers or simply wanted to know how to order computers or just needed a reboot.

I swear, every computer given to a person in a corporate environment needs a HUGE sticker on it that says: "If you haven't rebooted yet, don't call the helpdesk!"

Of course, the fun ones are the ones who start the reboot and then call anyway expecting that that won't take care of it. What a complete waste of time.

My dirge is level 74 in EQ2 now. No screenies, sorry. My training progresses at its regular pace in EVE. Got some online friends from a bulletin board setting up a corp and they've joined the CVA alliance in Providence, so I've asked them to set me blue and I'll probably head down there in a cruiser or something in a few days. We'll see.

My wife and I have been looking at houses lately. Found a nice little townhouse close to a lot of stuff, in a decent neighborhood and in our price range. Put in an offer, got a counteroffer, accepted it and are as of today "under contract." Let the inspections and appraisals and title work begin! I worked in the mortgage industry for about 2 years (but over 10 years ago), but I dealt with post-foreclosure concerns -- filing insurance claims on the loans. I started on regular PMI claims for conventionals, but then got moved over to the HUD/VA section. Even so, I still got to read th origination files and such, so I'm still semi-literate in mortgagespeak. Or at least I think I am. Hubris? Who knows. . . . . . .

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Servers and whitelists and vidcards, oh my!

Work's been interesting the past couple of days. The batch of PC's that we use here on the service desk all came with refurbished FireGL 7200 ATI video cards. And they all run hot. And they all fail, and rather spectacularly when they do. And when Dell sends replacements, they don't always work either, since they're refurbished too.

This weekend was apparently my computer's turn to futz out. It's had some difficulties since I've been using it, but the occasional reboot and avoiding watching wmv files in the media player made it easy enough to not have trouble..... but the AC went out over the weekend, so it was over 90 degrees in here when we got in on Monday, and my vidcard was already more or less fried as a result.

We got a 7600 a few months ago for a different pc, but it's still sitting on the workbench since it didn't really work there. We popped that into mine to see if maybe that pc didn't like it or something, but since it's a different card I hadda get the new drivers for it from the ATI website. Installed those and got a lovely BSOD saying that my video drivers were caught in an infinite loop. Boot to safe mode, revert the driver and blah blah blah. It owuld run on an older driver, but no matter which driver I had on the machine it had nasty vertial green bars at all times, sometimes sideways line of pixellation, often random patterns of green dots in the background. Meh. I put the old card back in, and while it worked at 1st, once it heated up it began locking up.

On the bright side, I managed to get Dell's online customer service to agree to ship a replacement card. We have to do it that way in order to have a transcript of the interaction with Dell, in case you wonder. But my pc was still unusable, usually locking up while still "applying computer settings" during the boot process.

So.... off I went digging on the shelf and found an old vidcard with a DVI and a VGA output on it. another guy here said he used to use that card on his PC before we got the newer workstations with the 7200's.

Slapped that puppy in, but again. . .no driver, and looking at the card itself it wasn't labeled in any way. Fortunately the basic driver allowed me to be able to use the pc to the point I could open a command prompt and enter the debugger to access the video memory so it would tell me what kind of card it was. ATI 300XT, in case you wonder.

so... off to download more drivers, this time ATI's "all in one legacy driver set." Oooooooooo. Once installed I was able to activate the vga port on it to allow myself use of 2 monitors again, at least. And I even have my old resolution back too, though it doesn't seem to like my background image anymore. Still and all.... makes the thing usable again until the new card arrives tomorrow.

And then my TL drops another pc from upstairs on me.. reporting the same problems, etc.

Yup, it's a bad FireGL7200 card again. We know it, but... have to do due dilligence on it. That machine now has the latest drivers, updated bios, etc. And it still gives a BSOD saying there's a problem with the card or its drivers any time I do anyhting remotely graphics intensive.

New card's on the way for that one now too.

The one on the workbench....since this is supposeldy a new card as of April, Dell won't send a replacement until we can test one of the "known good" new cards in that machine... nevermind that the same problems follow the card from machine to machine and it failed most of its video diagnostics. . . . . .

Print server's been up and down several times since last Thursday. always a nice call generator: "I can't print!"

Our whole business unit had lost internet connection this morning as well. Cause was found to be a DNS white list put into effect last night by the main office that blocked all of our external ports. Oops! They reverted to the old filters and are "investigating the issue" now. and obviously I have internet back or I wouldn't be posting this, no?

Haven't actually had too many "stupid stories" today. A couple of people too blind to see the box that says "click here to run the ActiveX control" that pops down from the toolbar, but other than that... mostly people complaining they can't print or access the internet. Gotta love MUI's, no?

Beyond that.... not too much to report from my gaming over the weekend becuz I didn't do much. I did get my dirge to level 73 in EQ2, but in EVE the missions I looked at getting from my agent were all crappy, so I just declined a long string of them. I'm really kinda killing time until I can go into a wormhole with a battlecruiser outfitted with hacking and codebreaking modules, and. . . .less than 2 hours to go on Survey 5 so that I can train Archaeology to use a codebreaker. I've been able to hack for a while, but never have actually done it before. In a couple of days I may have some wormhole stories to tell. I hope so, anyway. That sounds more exciting than mission running.

Okay, actually I did 1 more thing in EQ2, now that I think about it. Tipa at posted about a nice "appearance only" armor from the Station Cash store in EQ2 and when I looked at it, I *had* to have it for my ShadowKnight. So yes, I finally popped my Station Cash cherry:

I'll admit that the nose hole in the helmet leaves me a little cold, but hey... that's what the /showhelm command is for, right?

Yes, that *is* a High Elf SK. One of the 1st, actually -- created 4 or 5 days after the game launched. I like to try to break stereotypes here and there, and it seemed every high elf was going the "priest -> cleric -> templar" route at the time, so I broke the mold and made a fighter and then went evil. Admittedly, the character was initially intended to be a cleric, but once I hit level 3 and had to choose my archetype I decided I didn't want to be "normal." But then... who does?

I will admit, at level 19 I ran back through the (at the time REALLY scary) Nektulos Forest zone in order to be in Antonica when I dinged 20. I was tanking for a scarecrow grind group and when I hit 20 everyone thought I was going to be a paladin. As a result, the groupchat messages of "Gratz!" and all that quickly gave way to shocked cries of "SK? WTH?!?!?!?!?" That was a lot of fun, actually.

TBH, I kinda miss those scarecrows. . . . .

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Problem with LowSec

Okay, a focused post for once. Let's see how it turns out:

EVE Online, for those who don't know, is a "sandbox" MMOG, meaning essentially that they created a virtual world, established a series of rules for the world, and then you go play in it using your own imagination to create your own fun. You don't "level up" or go do quests to gain better equipment. It's PvP enabled at all times -- anyone who sees you can shoot you. Any time, anywhere. There are consequences for doing so in some zones, but beyond that... watch your back and/or travel with friends, and the more friends the better.

Space is divided into 3 type -- high security (HiSec -- security rating 1.0 down to 0.5), low security (LowSec -- security rating 0.4 down to 0.1), and 0.0 or "NullSec."

HiSec is considered "safest" of the areas due to the fact that it's policed by NPC's. There are game mechanics making it safe to PvP there still, but for the most part it's pretty safe for anyone to fly around, even in unarmed hauling ships.

LowSec is considered (on paper) to be "sorta safe, but not really." There's no more NPC police, but there are still sentry guns at warpgates and space stations, so if combat takes place there, whoever shot first will be fired upon by those guns to aid the "shootee." Initiating combat also results in a reduction of a player's "security status."

NullSec is considered (again, on paper) to be "lawless" or completely unsafe. There's no NPC policing presence of any kind -- everything is left up to the players. Player alliances are able to claim sovereignty by placing their own "POS's" (player owned stations) and create their own nations in most of this area. Any policing/keeping out the riffraff is wholly done by player forces.

So... why is there a problem with LowSec, you ask?

It comes down to several factors. This is a PvP game, but the vast majority of players in any MMO (including EVE) don't like or want to PvP, especially since in EVE if you die then you lose your ship, its fittings, and possibly will get "podded" and lose any implants you have installed in your character's body as well. This can be a huge cost to the player, and as such death is very actively avoided. As a result, something like 80% of all players spend all of their time in HiSec, where their chances of suffering loss due to death is very low. As I mentioned above, PvP *is* possible there, but difficult, especially for "pirates" who have a low security rating due to PvP. NullSec is heavily and actively patrolled by its sovereign player alliances, making it so if you're in your in the space your alliance owns, you're generally about as safe as if you're in HiSec (notice that I said "generally"). Sure there are wars and people like to roam around at times looking for people to kill who don't have buddies to protect them, but space is vast, and wars tend to produce conflicts only in specific areas, so fights can be avoided.

This leaves LowSec space as the only viable place for player pirates to hang out. They can't go into NullSec due to the alliances vigilance in keeping out undesirables, and with negative security ratings they can't go to HiSec very easily, and since PvP is difficult to do in HiSec anyway, they're left with LowSec or nothing, pretty much.

So... HiSec is filled with people who don't want to PvP at all, NullSec is full of people who want to PvP on their own terms in wars with neighbors, and LowSec is a vast wasteland where "carebears" and NullSec alliance people don't care to go, and if you see someone there it's probably a pirate looking for some nonconsensual PvP.

To sum up: In HiSec, security is provided by NPC's, in NullSec security is provided by players, and in LowSec, there's no security at all.

So... from a "human behavior/social" standpoint, not many people want to be in LowSec.

Then there's game mechanics as well.

The NPC empires are set up completely backwards from how a real empire would be. The highest security areas have the "worst" resources. As the security level drops, the resources get better and better, and once you're in to NullSec the best asteroids and moons for resource gathering are found there. There's no police presence to protect the direct routes ("pipes") from the HiSec trade hubs down to NullSec space where ostensibly you would want the highest possible security for the valuable resources coming in to your home systems from the frontier.

I can see the gameplay reasons for it -- making it so the NPC areas suck and trying to incentivize the players to move to Low and NullSec.


In HiSec, people can choose to do missions versus NPC ships, and then loot the wrecks, then reprocess the loot down to the building materials. In doing this they have access to all the various minerals, even ones that "should" only come from Low/NullSec asteroids. So the vast majority of players therefore have absolutely no reason to ever leave HiSec. The developers have also put missions in LowSec, but they don't really pay out much more than missions in Hisec and since any player you see in-system with you is probably looking to scan you down and come kill you, if you're running missions in LowSec you spend a lot of time cloaked at a safe spot or docked up and waiting for people to leave, meaning longer mission completion times and therefore losing bonus rewards for fast completion, meaning HiSec is actually more profitable anyway.

So... there's really no reason for a "carebear" to go to LowSec, nor for a NullSec alliance member. They have missions they can do in their sovereign space a for more payout than LowSec and they've got their alliance looking out for them while they do it.

In practice this makes it so that:
  • HiSec = High Security
  • NullSec = Medium Security
  • LowSec = No Security
And with the human behavior of generally not going where one isn't safe. . . LowSec has a population problem. Pirates who live there want more targets, but the "carebears" don't want to go be the targets.

Most changes suggested by LowSec dwellers to force more of the "carebears" into LowSec are vociferously resisted by said "carebears" because it would radically change their gameplay, but with no benefit to them. Most changes suggested by HiSec dwellers to make LowSec a bit more secure for them are vociferously resisted by the pirates because it would make their already difficult gameplay even tougher with no benefit to them.

Sounds like the proverbial Catch-22, doesn't it?

So... what can be done to increase security in LowSec to make it so that it actually is (in practice as well as in theory) LowSec, as opposed to the current chaotic "NoSec?"

Some common suggestions are things like moving all the Level 4 (most profitable) missions to Lowsec, removing refinable loot from mission NPC ships (thus forcing LowSec mining operations), and/or a massive boost to LowSec mission rewards in order to make them more profitable than HiSec L4's in spite of the need to run and hide whenever a strange ship comes in to the system.

Common counterarguments are that L4's already exist in LowSec and nobody does them and they'll just switch to running L3's in HiSec. They'd rather obtain less income than lose their mission running ship. Removing loot from the NPC ships wouldn't really affect the runners themselves, but rather the industrialists that build the ships in the 1st place. If their supply of materials drops, they can't build anything, and unless they were in a corporation equipped to do mining ops with escorts (and if they were in such a large corp, they'd probably be in NullSec anyway for the even more profitable ores) they won't be heading to LowSec in order to gain the minerals anyway. This would make prices go up while incomes went down -- very bad for the economy -- and could (would?) cause a lot of the industrialists upon whom the very economy of the game relies to quit the game. And for the final suggestion, a massive boost to mission rewards still wouldn't be enough to make people willing to risk their "pimped out" mission running ships.

Frankly, I think that if the "LowSec problem" is going to be "solved" it's going to need to be quite a bit more radical of a change. The biggest bostacle to overcome, IMO, is the human behavior thing. The "carebears" are NOT going anyplace they don't feel safe, so there needs to be something added that gives a very strong illusion of security, whilst not actually adding so much security that it forces the pirates out.

I think that adding semi-predictable patrols of faction navies within the LowSec systems would help -- predictable enough to give the illusion of security to "carebears" that wish to mine the lowsec belts, but not so predictable that pirates can always avoid them. Have these navies fly ships with stats identical to the faction ships players can obtain and fly, fit them according to PvP principles, and give them the new Sleeper AI. This would make them tough, but it would make fights (at times) winnable for pirates also, even if it's just "kill the tackling frigate and GTFO!" A 0.4 system would have more frequent (and perhaps larger?) patrols than a 0.3 system, and so on down to 0.1.

The patrols would only go to the current fixed celestial objects -- belts, moons, planets, and stations, so mission runners actually wouldn't be any safer, since they're not at any of those places..... but they would feel safer since the navy's about! Possibly add a "call for help" function that would bring the navy, but only if a) there happens to be a patrol in system, and b) they don't respond immediately, but will take 3-5 minutes to arrive. Add in that they are fightable and can't do the "concordokken" -- the "carebear's" ability to call for help will give the illusion of security, the time window before arrival allows the pirate to get their kill (possibly), and the pirate can also (possibly) escape or fight the navy if/when they do arrive.

Something else that I think would help to heighten the illusion of security overall would be to look at the systems that make up the "pipes" to NullSec and then make them all 0.4, and thus subject to "heavy patrol" while still not kicking the pirates out of the system with the highest traffic. Keeping them lowsec will also allow capital logistics for the NullSec alliances as well.

I also think that it's too easy to scan ships down. No L4 mission runner is going to bring a battleship in to do a Level 4 mission when he knows he can be scanned out in 90 seconds or less. Tweak the scanning mechanics to make it take a longer minimum period (like 10 minutes or perhaps even longer, with good skills reducing it and/or giving a chance to make it only 3-5 minutes, or somesuch). Yeah, it'll annoy the pirates at first, but it will make scoring that mission runner kill that much sweeter, and over time it will be accepted as "just how it is."

And I know I don't get (m)any readers, but any that there are -- I welcome criticisms and other ideas in the comments.

And since it's an EVE post, another Eve pic:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

SW: TOR preview

The breathless overhype begins!

I'm actually with Tobold on this one. Hope for the best, but don't really expect it.

That said, the "dungeon romp" on the destroyer sounded very interesting. Perhaps I'm underestimating. Or perhaps this is simply a WAY too early hype-fest. The game's not expected until 2011 at the earliest, IIRC.

Didn't do much with my gaming last night. I generally don't play much, if at all on weekdays -- I have a nearly 2 hour commute each way on top of the 10 hour workday, so I leave at 5:00 am and get home around 7, making bedtime at 10-ish. Between dinner, spending time with the family, etc, there often isn't time for gaming in the evening.

That said, I finally ferried my EVE character back to my home base from the market hub, as well as set my queue for the next Electronic skill I'm "finishing" at level 4. According to EFT I've only got 15 days left to round out the section, but since they're "non-critical" skills it's tempting to train other things. I've decided to discipline myself to simply finish them now, and then never have to worry about them again. 2 weeks in EVE isn't a long time at all. Kinda odd how the perspective shifts -- when I 1st started EVE, even a 3 hour skill bugged me, but now I think of 2 weeks as "not long." What's it going to be like when I eventually am working on capital ships? Only time will tell.

Anyway, after ferrying my hauler (and some new purchases -- Sabre anyone?) back to my home base, I logged out of EVE and finished several quests in EQ2 on my dirge. I had them within an inch of completion, so I found the final few mobs I needed and turned them in. Got a bit of adventure xp and almost a complete AA point. Just have 1 more quest hub to finish up the Kylong Plains and then it will be time to move on the the Fens.

Total time online. . . less than an hour. Not bad for that short a time. Doubt I'll be on tonight, though -- my son has day camp tomorrow, so tonight will be making his lunch, making sure he's got his stuff packed for it, etc.

And since I'm new to this blogging thing, I'm gonna experiment with adding a picture or 2 to this thing now. Whoope-de-freaking-do, n'est-ce pas?

And now you see a nice EVE station off to the left. Not quite where I envisioned it, but I suppose that as I play with things I'll get things better squared away.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July Weekend Musings

My normal workweek is 4 days. The holiday last weekend made it so I got Thursday off, though, so I got a nice 4-day weekend. It was nice to have the extra time with my kids. Plus a friend hooked me up with "Plants vs Zombies" and we all got to play that... well... I controlled the mouse, but they suggest strategies and which plants to choose on the various levels.

Beat the whole "main game" in about 6 hours and started on the mini-games, but by then the kids were agitating to play WebKinz and Free Realms, so I let them to it while I went and did laundry and cleaned up and such.

My mom and sister got back from a trip to Prince Edward Island this past week, so it was fun to visit with them and hear all the stories and all that. They actually didn't spend all that much time touring the Anne of Green Gables stuff, becuz there really wasn't all that much to do in that part of the island, apparently. They did a lot of nature walks in various places, visited lighthouses, and just generally relaxed. Sounds like a trip I will want to take at some point, though I'll admit that I don't have that much interest in the Green Gables area. I never read the books. I liked the movie I saw well enough, but overall. . . meh.

My daughter had a sleepover Friday night going to Saturday, so Saturday morning the remainder of us at home went and saw Ice Age 3. It was cute, even laugh out loud funny at points. I haven't seen the 2nd one, but now I'm kinda wanting to rent that to see what I missed. I loved Simon Pegg's "Buck" character.

The funny thing about that, though -- my daughter was all stoked about how much fun she'd had on her sleepover, until she found out we'd seen a movie without her. Then it suddenly "wasn't fair" and she "didn't have much fun" on the sleepover and yadda yadda yadda. She's quite the drama queen.

We didn't really do anything specific on Saturday to celebrate the 4th, oddly enough. Lots of neighbors were doing small fireworks, which scared the dog no end. couldn't get her to do a final potty run before bed -- she just kept running back up to the door and whining to go inside. Well.. when she wasn't barking at the "screamer" type of fireworks.

I totally forgot that this was a "bonus xp" weekend on EQ2, so when I did log in a bit on my dirge, I got a pleasant surprise. Got it from level 69 to 71 and got 9 AA's in that period. Really just solo-quested in Kylong Plains zone. Still have some of the new Order of Rime quests to finish up, plus the entire Kunzar's Edge quest hub. And if I'm feeling really ambitious I suppose I oculd slaughter goblins and brutes until I get the quest starter body-drops off them, but time will tell on that. Soloing with the dirge is "ok" but it took a jump in difficulty when entering the RoK zones. Not unexpected, mind -- I've got 3 toons at 80 already, after all, as well as 2 more in their 70's -- but still something of a nuisance.

I didn't do anything much in EVE at all, other than to buy a bunch of new skill books in order to "round out" the skills I want to train in certain skill sections, then using the skill queue to train them all to at least level 2. I'm working through them all to 3 now, but at 8+ hours each, the queue only holds 3 at a time anymore, so it's slowed down a bit. Even so, it's going quickly overall. I've got just under 16 days left before I've trained the Electronics skills to where I want them and probably won't revisit that section for a LONG time to come. Once this spate of new "short skills" is trained I'll finish that off and then. . . we'll see. I've got quite a few 3's in Ship Command and Gunnery I'd like to bump to 4's, but I've also got a few Missile skills I need to work on -- I *am* a Caldari Carebear, after all. I really should be better with missiles than I am. but no.... I have better gunnery support skills and can use all the T2 small guns, but can't even use T2 rockets, much less anything else. Bad me, I know.

And on to topics others are blogging about, just 'cuz I've got an hour left at work and it's pretty slow today (only 1 "stupid story" and it's not really THAT bad, so I'm not gonna bother), so...

The $10 mount in Wizard 101
: I don't care. I don't play that game, so... makes no nevermind to me. I do have Free Realms and I've done a few of the microtransactions. Got pets for my kids' characters so they have them following them around. Got a nice robe and wand for my daughter on her wizard. She actually seems to prefer the Medic job, though, and yes, I got her a nice Medic weapon too. Got my son a pet, but he hasn't cared about getting weapons or clothes or anything. Even so, since FR came out I think I've put $60 into it, and most of that has been for fluff that doesn't even make anything useful happen in-game. If anything, the $10 mount sounds like a good deal to me.

The EVE Blog Banter #9: What game mechanic would I remove from EVE? That's easy -- insurance payouts for ships that are concordokkened. I've never been suicide ganked, so it's not a personal concern for me, but it simply doesn't make any sense that insurance would pay out to someone who committed a criminal act.

Politics: I was as surprised as anyone by Sarah Palin announcing her resignation, I suppose. The situation in Honduras is interesting, but what it all means.... I don't know. I used to care a lot more about politics, and still read several blogs about all the current events, but mostly anymore I'm one of the apathetic ones. I vote, but that's about the extent of my public participation anymore. I rarely even remember to visit the bulletin board that more or less got me interested in the 1st place.

And I just got an email telling me to do an install for a user, so... time to stop randomly rambling and get back to work.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Firefox 3.5 is out. I've installed it. Seems to be a bit more responsive. Kewl!

Been doing some reading on Windows 7. Lots of good buzz. Hopefully it improves on XP (won't say improves on Vista -- XP is an improvement on Vista. . . )

Haven't had any dumb calls today. Did have a guy wanting to install a printer and wondering why the PC wouldn't detect it when he hadn't turned it on yet after my post of yesterday. I could dip historical, but since you can always just bip on over to Rinkworks and hit their computer stupidities section, why bother?

Yes, I like to drop pronouns when I start sentences. I also am fond of . . . and -- too.

Currently reading 1491 again. Truly a fascinating sampling of Native American history that they didn't teach me in school. I 1st read an earlier edition a few years ago, and am surprised at both how much and how little of it I remember.

My son got a huge Lego set shipped in yesterday as a combination b-day/Xmas present from my mom. We put together about 1/2 of it last night, and today he finished it up while I'm at work. It should be fun to see how proud he is of it when I get home tonight.

CCP games released some teaser information about their upcoming patch to EVE Online. I'm looking forward to the new "sized" rigs for smaller ships. It might actually make it worthwhile to rig a frigate with something other than a shield resistance rig.

I've also been reading over some fan notes from the SOE Fan Faire from last weekend. The changes for EQ2 that are upcoming sound really good to me. I truly don't understand why so many of the forum posters are whining about the changes.

I thought this Strategy Page article about female Marines in Iraq was rather fascinating, especially due to the peek it gives toward the cultural differences in how women are treated there vs here.

I've been doing my daily scan of various news and opinion blogs also and found a rather unexpected link: Runner's World I think it's pretty cool that someone as busy as a governor can still take time to run each day. Personally I've always hated running. I love biking though. And I always tell myself I'm going to bike more, but with work and family and chores and all that... It's not that I can't make the time, it's more that I don't choose to make it. Oy, that almost sounded like the old sales lecture: "Don't ask if they have time, ask instead if you can sit down and tell them your pitch. Nobody has time, everyone has a couch."

And yeah, I'll call this good for today. Really only posting to kill time since it's pretty slow at work today. Something about it being a holiday weekend and my employer does 4-days a week, but we all get tomorrow off since the holiday's on the weekend, so today's "Friday" but a bunch of people took today off too for an even longer weekend. . . . .

Don't know if I'll add posts at home this weekend. Doubt it, really. Doubt I have anyone reading either for that matter, so who cares? ;-)